World’s Most Expensive Divorces: Part One

Every once in a while a new client will make an appointment with the sole purpose of determining whether he/she can afford to get divorced or whether the financial consequences will be so devastating that he/she is better to stick it out.

The fact is that divorce often means relinquishing half of your property and paying generous, perhaps lifetime, spousal support. For a middle class Canadian it can be a significant financial setback.

However, it is no less crushing for spouses with great wealth. Consider the expenses of maintaining multiple homes in various locations around the world; travel expenses including the upkeep of executive jets or helicopters; lavish vacations; hundreds of thousands of dollars for the most exclusive private schools for their children and shopping sprees at Hermes, Vuitton and Cartier’s.

Do you think it was easy for the following group of millionaires/billionaires to write settlement cheques to their wives?

1. RUPERT MURDOCH, media tycoon, paid $1.7 billion in 1998 to his wife ANNA MURDOCH MANN, to whom he was married for 31 years. Ms. Mann recently broke her silence and gave her first interview to an Australian magazine. She referred to her ex as “ruthless” and predicted an ugly succession battle when Mr. Murdoch gives up the reins to his media conglomerate or dies. She is hoping that her children do not get overlooked in favour of Mr. Murdoch’s second family with his wife Wendy Deng.

2. Saudi arms dealer ADNAN KHASHOGGI left his wife SORAYA after 13 years of marriage. His extra marital affairs were no secret , but when he took up with one of his wife’s closest friends their union was over. She sued him for $2.5 billion but accepted an out of court settlement for $874 million. Mr. Kashoggi retained his yacht, Nabila, which at the time was the most expensive ship in the world and was featured in the James Bond movie “Never Say Never”. It is reported that Mr. Khashoggi suffered some serious business setbacks and now lives more modestly in Monaco.

3. Russian billionaire businessman ROMAN ABRAMOVICH divorced his second wife Irina after 16 years of marriage and five children. Forbes magazine named him the tenth richest man in Russia, fiftieth in world rankings with a net worth of $11.2 billion. His payout to IRINA was a mere $300 million. Roman retained the Chelsea Football Club and a collection of businesses, homes, yachts, airplanes and cars, including a Ferrari, a Maserati, a Bugati, several Porches, and a Mercedes Benz.

Zsa Zsa Gabor’s lament is likely shared by Ms. Murdoch, Ms. Khashoggi and Ms. Abramovich, when she said: “I want a man that’s kind and understanding, is that too much to ask of a millionaire?”

More to come.

Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang

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