‘Most Expensive Divorce Settlement In History’

The Most Expensive Divorce Settlement In History

The sudden departure of Radamel Falcao to Manchester United last Monday and James Rodriguez to Real Madrid has been the attraction of much speculation within the media this week.

Critics suggest that the players’ sudden departure is due to the ‘most expensive divorce in history’, which has seen Russian Oligarch, and owner of AS Monaco, Dmitry Rybolovlev ordered to pay a staggering £2.7 billion of his fortune to ex-wife Elena. It is reported that she sought to freeze Rybolovlev’s bank accounts whilst he went on a shopping spree aimed at keeping his money out of her hands. Rybolovlev purchased two Greek Islands, Donald Trump’s Palm Beach mansion and a Hawaiian property once owned by actor Will Smith.

However, a Swiss court ordered that he pay £2.7 billion to his ex-wife as well as properties, which included a chalet in Gstaad, Switzerland and a further two properties in Geneva after their 20 year marriage came to an end. 

Dmitry, who has two daughters with Elena, a shrewd businessman, did not lose everything he had built up and acquired.  He had put in place a complex legal trust structure in order to protect a number of his assets and they were not part of the final ruling.

The case echoes that of Chelsea FC owner, Roman Abramovich’s 2007 divorce settlement of £150 million paid to his ex-wife, Irina, which was then the ‘world’s most costly marriage split’. The £150 million settlement included the £18 million Fyning Hill Estate and two London homes at Eaton Square and Chester Square. His entire wealth had been accumulated during the marriage, giving Irina substantial bargaining power in the divorce settlement. Under British divorce law, Irina would have been entitled to half of her husband's fortune, however procedures were put in place through the Russian courts and Irina settled at £150 million. The secrecy of Russia’s legal system means that exact details of the settlement will never be made public.

Players within the industry have also been subject to hefty divorce settlements; Arsenal midfielder, Ray Parlour was ‘ordered to pay for the rest of his playing days’ which set a precedent in England and Wales. The principle being that those with a significant earning capacity where there is a surplus of money left over and above what they both reasonably need, can be part of a final ruling. Parlour’s wife was awarded £250,000 a year in personal maintenance, which could be increased upon review of the case for the fact that during the marriage she had supported his career.

It is a familiar case that those with a high net worth are hit with significant financial orders, which continue throughout their career. David James, the former England keeper, saw his estimated £6 million assets halved when he divorced his wife and mother of his four children. 

Another footballer just hitting the headlines now and about to be taken through the courts by his wife, Danielle, is former Wolverhampton Wonderers midfielder, Jamie O’Hara. It is reported that the couple’s Midlands based property worth £1.9 million has already been put on the market and sources suggest that Danielle believes that she “deserves to be comfortable” despite only two years of marriage.

It proves that it is imperative to plan and put in place measurements to protect your financial position should the breakdown of your marriage occur. In the words of Elena Rybolovlev’s lawyers; “no one — not even a Russian tycoon who put his fabulous fortune into legal structures such as trusts and offshore companies — is above the law”. Speak to our family department today for advice on financial orders in divorce proceedings to avoid being taken to the cleaners.