Let it go?
With the unstoppable popularity of Disney animated films – and news that Frozen has become the highest grossing Disney film of all time – Paradigm Family Law take a look at the issues that might affect those budding newly wedded Prince Charmings and Princesses if the fairy-tale ever ended. A lesson in the benefits of a prenuptial agreement for Snow White et al if ever one was needed!
ELSA AND ANNA (FROZEN)
Elsa, also now known as the Snow Queen, is Norwegian. Her parents are the King and Queen, who were tragically lost at sea. Elsa lives in Arendelle and is single. Her only relative is now her sister, Anna. Anna is also a Princess – Anna of Arendelle, famous for the song, ‘Do you wanna build a snowman?’ Anna forms a friendship with Kristoff Bjorgman, who is a local ice harvester and mountain herder. Kristoff is also Norwegian and lives in the mountains in a wooden shack. Kristoff is adopted, and has a mother, father and grandfather. Of his occupation, he is famous for saying, ‘You wanna talk about a supply and demand problem? I sell ice for a living.’
Elsa and Anna’s net worth is unknown. Kristoff doesn’t appear to have substantial assets, but in family law nothing can be taken for granted.
Paradigm Family Law would advise that there needs to be (as in any such case) full, frank and clear financial disclosure exchanged by the couple before any specific advice can be given. It would seem that perhaps a pre-nuptial agreement is worthwhile for Anna if she is contemplating marriage. For now, if Kristoff is planning to live with Anna, perhaps a cohabitation agreement is something to consider. As an unmarried couple, Anna and Kristoff need to think about making a will, and documenting any property or other asset ownership arrangements to avoid uncertainty in the future. If after a period of separation during which time, Kristoff’s ice business took off and he becomes a global player – what then? Could Anna make a claim against the new empire? Should Kristoff consider a ‘Mick Jagger’ application and make a claim against himself?
SNOW WHITE (SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARVES)
Snow White, is a German national. She now lives in the Prince’s Castle but formerly resided with her Evil Stepmother at her castle and latterly in the Seven Dwarves’ cottage. Snow White is now married to the Prince. Her mother and father (the King and Queen) both died, leaving Snow White an orphan who was looked after by her wicked stepmother. Her occupation was a Scullery Maid, but now she is of course a Princess. Snow White famously said, “Some day my Prince will come”. She was right – she met her Prince Charming, a fellow German national and married him. The marital home is now Neuschwanstein castle, Neuschwansteinstraße 20, 87645 Schwangau, Bavaria, Germany. The Prince has no relatives on his side of the family.
Snow White’s pre-marital estimated wealth: $60,000.
If advising Snow White, some of the areas Paradigm Family Law would raise would include the possibility of an Inheritance Act challenge against her wicked stepmother and the estate of Snow White’s late parents. Once married to the Prince, Snow White’s financial security improves by virtue of the possible matrimonial claims she could bring that are not available to cohabitees (although see our recent blog here). We would also advise Snow White to take inheritance tax advice regarding her position in Germany and on how she can protect herself from potential inheritance claims in that country.
Cinderella is a French national. She lives in a castle. Her mother and father are unknown. She has a Stepmother and 2 elder stepsisters. The family have a number of pets – Bruno (dog), Major (horse), Pumpkin (puppy), Bibbidy (pony) and Slipper (kitten). Cinderella marries Prince Charming and is freed from her wicked stepmother and stepsister. Cinderella and Prince Charming live happily together in the castle. They have a son called Chad. Cinderella is famously quoted as saying, “If you tell a wish, it won’t come true, and after all… A dream is a wish your heart makes.” Until she married the Prince, Cinderella was a domestic servant. Prince Charming is also French. He makes his home with Cinderella at her castle. His relatives are the King, but his mother is deceased. He has a Stepmother in law. Prince Charming said, “It’s not about the slipper. It’s the girl in the slipper.”
Before she married the Prince, Cinderella’s net worth was estimated to be in the region of $42,000.
If advising Cinderella, Paradigm Family Law would be concerned to ensure that the arrangements for her son Chad were agreed, and that his interests were paramount in the considerations of the couple. Hopefully the parties could agree the child arrangements. If not mediation would be recommended to provide an opportunity for the couple to negotiate in a neutral and confidential setting. The couple should also make a will so as to ensure the guardianship of Chad, and protect against unwanted claims from evil stepmothers. As for the pets, if there was any dispute over who should have which one, again it seems mediation would be an ideal forum for reaching an agreement.
Princess Jasmine is of Middle Eastern origin. Her father is a Sultan, but her mother is deceased. She lives in Agrabah, in her father’s Palace. She has a pet tiger, Rajah. She says of marriage, “If I do marry, I want it to be for love.” Princess Jasmine meets and falls in love with Aladdin. His occupation is as a thief, a ‘street rat’. Aladdin is of no fixed abode. He has a father, and a pet monkey – Abu. Aladdin marries Jasmine and becomes the sole heir apparent to the Sultan of Agrabah. Aladdin’s a man of his word – “Do you trust me?”
Princess Jasmine’s net worth is estimated at $25,000,000,000,000 making her perhaps the wealthiest of all the Princesses.
If advising Jasmine, Paradigm Family Law would be particularly concerned to help her protect her wealth in advance of any marriage to Aladdin. A pre-nuptial agreement would be essential. Princess Jasmine, and her father would have to be advised as to which jurisdiction would be best for the pre-nuptial agreement and how an English Court would consider the offshore trust assets.
BELLE (BEAUTY AND THE BEAST)
The Beast (aka Prince Adam) is French. He lives in a castle and has no surviving relatives. He meets and falls in love with Belle, a maiden from the nearby village. She lives in a cottage with her father. Her mother is deceased. They had a somewhat turbulent courtship. The Beast exhibited aggressive behaviour towards Belle, telling her, “You will join me for dinner. THAT’S NOT A REQUEST!” However, Belle nevertheless saw the good in him, and they married. Upon marriage, the curse over the Beast was broken. Belle became a Princess and they lived happily ever after at Prince Adam’s castle.
Prince Adam’s net worth is estimated at $1,250,000.
Whilst all is well, Paradigm Family Law would perhaps be concerned to flag up the possible issue of domestic violence if consulted by Belle. It seems that, certainly before the curse was lifted, the Beast had a tendency to behave in a threatening or intimidating manner. Belle may need an injunction if there is any repetition of such behaviour.
And the Disney Princesses lived happily ever after…
Here at Paradigm Family Law, we do not expect to see any of the Disney Princesses or their Prince Charming husbands. They all lived happily ever after in true fairy-tale tradition. And we wish all our readers the very merriest of Christmases and Happiest New Year imaginable.
With thanks to www.disney.wikia.com