By Emily Morris and Megan Bennie
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SPOTLIGHT: Usher’s Divorce from Grace Miguel

By Emily Morris and Megan Bennie

In this week’s spotlight, we focus on Usher’s divorce from Grace Miguel.

Earlier this Spring, the couple announced their separation to Us Weekly after two years of marriage, stating they ‘remain deeply connected, loving friends who will continue supporting each other through the next phases of our lives’.  The couple originally started dating in 2009 and have no children together. Therefore, this article will focus on the potential reasons for the separation and how their assets may be split.

Usher’s dating history shows that he has previously been divorced. In 2009, Usher separated from Tameka Foster after two years of marriage with a highly-publicised child custody dispute spanning over three years, with the Judge eventually awarding Usher primary custody.

With an estimated net worth of $180 million, Usher’s assets will be a primary concern in this split.

Potential reasons for the separation

In July 2017, an online rumour surfaced alleging that Usher carried the herpes virus and infected a partner with the virus in 2012. One claimant, Laura Helm, filed a $20 million lawsuit against the singer but her claim was later proved to be false. Throughout this ordeal, Miguel remained quiet.  However there have since been several reports that Usher and Miguel have been arguing, indicating ‘irreconcilable differences’.

How assets will be split

It is unclear whether Usher and Miguel have a prenuptial agreement which would protect each partner’s assets in the event of a divorce. Prenuptial agreements are not automatically legally binding in England and Wales as they are in certain American states, but they can be used to protect pre-acquired assets and provide the couple with confidence about what would happen if they later separate. In the case of Usher and Miguel, a prenuptial agreement would protect his $180 million fortune, avoiding the uncertainty of separation of assets.  If you wish to protect your assets prior to marriage, our solicitors can assist you in drafting a suitably tailored pre-nuptial agreement.

Due to the couple having no children, the separation of matrimonial assets would be the most challenging issue to deal with.  Since the online rumour surfaced, additional rumours have transpired claiming Usher has had several affairs. In England and Wales, cases involving an extra-marital affair or affairs mean that a divorce petition can be issued on the grounds of ‘adultery’ or ‘unreasonable behaviour’.

A Judge will usually try to ensure broad equality of division of all assets and liabilities accrued during the marriage, and if necessary to meet the parties’ need, assets accrued prior to marriage. There are many factors that affect the distribution of assets and liabilities some of which include employment, each party’s health circumstances, the duration of the marriage and any children. Therefore, equitable distribution means that the division of matrimonial assets will be carried out as fairly as possible, with all circumstances taken into account.  The courts of England and Wales have a famously wide discretion in this area, far more so than other comparable jurisdictions. In the case of Usher and Miguel, the assets subject to division are likely to include Usher’s earnings and property.

Conclusion

There are many factors that affect the distribution of matrimonial assets including employment and the duration of the marriage.  At Grayfords, we deal with international complex cases as well as those solely relating to England and Wales. Our solicitors are happy to offer advice on pre-nuptial agreements as well as guide you through the process of divorce or separation.

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Trainee Solicitor

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