Grayfords is a leading boutique law firm based in Fitzrovia, London. Our solicitors are experts in English and International Family Law and specialise in all matters regarding divorce, marriage and child matters.
The breakup of a marriage or civil partnership is about much
more than a relationship coming to an end. Divorce and dissolution are when two
lives, which up until this point have been tangled together, now need to be
carefully unpicked and separated.
Who will be the primary carer for the children? What will
happen to the family home? How will the family business work? All of these questions
and more have to be dealt with so that both parties are able to move on with
Fortunately, if you and your spouse are unable to agree on
some (or all) of these issues, help is at hand in the form of various
alternative dispute resolution methods.
Mediation – someone neutral to aid your discussions
When emotions are running high, it’s all too easy to find
yourself having the same arguments every time you meet your spouse to discuss
your future. Mediation – where an independent third party is there to help you
and your spouse work towards reaching an agreement about everything from
childcare to your financial settlement – is one way to try to avoid an
expensive and lengthy court case. Indeed, most couples will have to attend an
initial mediation meeting known as a MIAM (Mediation Information &
Assessment Meeting) before heading to Court.
Collaborative law – working together with your
Another way to attempt to resolve your issues is for you,
your spouse and your respective solicitors to meet to try to work together to
reach an agreement. Just like mediation, these “four-way meetings”
can be a good way for both parties to have their say and hopefully work more
collaboratively (compared to being on opposite sides in Court) in order to
reach a solution.
Court proceedings are sometimes necessary
If you and your spouse are unable to reach an agreement,
Court may be the only option. Normally, it should be viewed as a last resort,
as court proceedings can be time-consuming and costly.
Going to Court may also be necessary in certain
circumstances, such as if there is domestic violence or if there is an
international element to your divorce and time is of the essence.
It is always possible to negotiate alongside Court
It is highly advisable to seek independent legal advice
specific to your situation before making a decision on whether to head straight
to Court or to try alternative dispute resolution methods first. Get in touch
with us to book your free initial consultation with one of our experienced
Neil Graham, a Partner
at Grayfords says: “Attempting to
resolve issues without going to Court should always be a priority, not just
because it is likely to avoid the financial and emotional costs of going to
Court but also because people generally feel more positive about solutions in
which they have had a hand themselves or in which they feel that their voice
has been heard as part of that resolution process. However, alternative means of trying to
resolve issues first outside Court are not always suitable if, for example,
there are concerns over financial disclosure or a fundamental welfare issue and
in some cases can even place you at a disadvantage when the legal arguments in
your case are subsequently advanced. We
always aim to deal with cases in a consensual and conciliatory way but we are
also experts in our field in knowing when and how to fight your case in Court”.
This article was
written by Lauren Howells and Neil Graham.
In divorce cases, the welfare of the children is rightly
the central point from which all considerations stem. Increasingly, however, as
one or both spouses often regard pets as their “children”, greater
focus is placed on them within divorce proceedings by the parties. This
importance placed on pets is also leading to an increasing number of
“dog-nups”. But what are “dog-nups” and how do the courts resolve disputes
involving family pets following divorce or separation?
What are “dog-nups”?
Although many may see their pet as their
“child”, the law does not recognise them as such. Instead, pets are
seen as property in the eyes of the law, the same as a piece of furniture, for
example, so there are no special provisions for pets. This is likely a key
factor behind why many couples are seeking to document what would happen to their
pet(s) in the event of a breakup, such as upkeep costs and who will care for
the pet and when. This type of agreement is colloquially known as a “pet-nup”
or “dog-nup” (due to many such cases involving dogs). This is seen as similar
in nature to a “pre-nup” due to its proactive nature; detailing what would
occur should the couple divorce.
The Guardian reports that in the past year there were 30,000
divorce cases involving a dispute over a pet. It may, therefore, be
unsurprising that reportedly one in 20 pet-owning couples now have a
“pet-nup” (with many more stating they would consider entering into one). This
is a rapid increase from the numbers even as recent as 2014, where the first
legally binding pet-nup was said to have been created by the animal welfare
charity, Blue Cross.
A key reason behind such an increase is perhaps due to high
profile celebrity divorces where pets are a contentious issue. For example, Ant
McPartlin and Lisa Armstrong recently battled over who will get custody over
their Labrador, Hurley, and when Cheryl and Ashley Cole divorced, they ensured
their dog Coco was shared between them to “keep the peace”. This public
awareness, coupled with Britain being a nation of pet lovers, is leading many
to increasingly ask, “who will get custody of the pet if we divorce?” This is
leading many to consider “pet-nups”.
The courts’ standard position in determining disputes
with pets on divorce places children at the centre. In practice, this means
that any pets will often stay with the children, particularly if they were
close to the children. A key reason behind this is because such an approach
will be in the children’s best interests if it helps to minimise the breakdown
of their parents’ relationship.
However, in cases where there are no children, resolving
disputes with pets is more uncertain. Here, the courts will exercise more
discretion in determining what happens to the pets. In doing so, the Court will
consider various factors to determine who should look after the pet, when and
on what terms. Such factors, among others, may include whether any one spouse
owned the pet initially, who paid for the pet, whether one spouse
disproportionately looked after the pet’s daily needs, whether the partners
want the pet full-time and the living arrangements of the parties (e.g. whether
a partner’s rented accommodation allows pets).
Once the Court has considered the relevant factors, there
are numerous possible outcomes. For example, some common outcomes include the
court ordering that the pet be cared for by one party only, the pet be cared
for jointly by both parties or the parties sell the pet and split the cost.
However, it is important to note that such outcomes may be more complex to
implement in practice than perhaps they first appear. For instance, if both
parties are to jointly care for the pet, it may be the case that each partner
looks after the pet for a few months each or that a contact schedule be
required, just as would be the case with a child, which would delineate the
ex-couple may look after the pet for specific days separately each week.
Even where there exists a “pet-nup”, there is no absolute
certainty as there may be issues around its enforceability if there is a
dispute and ultimately the Court will decide what should happen to the pet.
What the above highlights then is that the courts do not
see animals as akin to children in divorce proceedings but rather as property.
How Grayfords can
Neil Graham, a Partner at Grayfords comments: “Feelings often run high on the breakdown of a relationship when it comes to pets, not just in relation to the pedigree ones which can often be very valuable but also in relation to the faithful four-legged, feathered or any other variety to whom the parties are understandably devoted. In the eyes of the law, pets are still property, and there is nothing the Courts dislike more than having to become involved in property disputes. Including a clause in a pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement which provides for pets is a sensible idea in order to minimise the chances of a dispute later. Alternatively, finding imaginative solutions which enable both parties to continue to share in the life of their faithful companion is always better than going to Court. We are always willing and able to assist with the above.”
This article was written by Neil Graham and Ishtiaq Shafiq.
You’ve decided your
marriage isn’t working anymore and it’s time to take action and make an
appointment with a family solicitor to discuss the next steps. How would you
feel if you were told you had to complete a course before you could divorce
your other half?
It’s a question that
divorcing parents in Denmark are now having to deal with, after a new law came
into force just over a month ago, which means parents with children under 18
years old who want to get a divorce now have to partake in a half-hour online
course to help both them and their children to adjust to their new circumstances.
If the course is not
completed by the couple wanting to divorce, they will stay married.
One of the people who
helped develop the course, Professor Gert Martin Hald from the University of Copenhagen, told a news outlet
that the course “gives advice on communication with your former partner and how
to help your children”.
In Denmark, it is
reported that nearly half of all marriages ended in divorce in 2017. Danes are
able to get a divorce relatively quickly compared to the UK, although there is
now a three-month reflection period.
Should the course be
replicated in the UK?
Firstly, it’s worth
reiterating that the divorce process in Denmark is very different to that in
While in Denmark
couples who both agree to the divorce can get their divorce almost immediately by
submitting an application to the State Administration, the same cannot be said
of here in the UK. There is an obligatory waiting period of 6 weeks and 1 day
between the decree nisi and the application for the decree absolute (when the
divorce is finalised). Indeed, it’s not unusual for divorces to take around 9
months here in the UK, sometimes much longer if there are complex issues. It is
for this reason that the 3-month reflection period seems unnecessary within our
current system, as couples can always change their mind before the divorce is
On the other hand,
anything which could help families to plan for life after divorce is always
welcome, especially in the form of a simple online course. The divorce process
can be stressful for parents and children alike, so if this course is shown to
improve communication and can help to build the foundations for the new family
life post-divorce, maybe making it mandatory for divorcing parents in the UK
may not be such a bad idea.
If you would like
advice about how to start planning for yours and your children’s future
post-divorce, get in touch to speak to one of our family lawyers today.
This article was written by Lauren Howells and
It’s only been a few
weeks since Adele’s representatives confirmed she had separated from husband Simon Konecki, news which shocked fans worldwide. The
statement requested privacy and said they were “committed to raising their son
What could this
Grammy-winning superstar’s divorce settlement look like? And what could the
divorce mean for her music career? We take a closer look…
Is there a prenup?
A prenuptial agreement,
also known as a prenup, is a document which sets out what a couple would like
to happen to their assets if they were to divorce in the future. It is signed
before the wedding.
It has been reported
that Adele and Simon didn’t sign a prenuptial agreement before they married.
If there is no prenup,
it is the laws of the country in which a couple divorce that will determine how
the assets will be divided upon divorce.
The £140 million divorce
Adele is reportedly
worth more than £140 million. According to The Sun, Simon Konecki is thought to be worth
around £800,000. There’s been a huge amount of speculation in the press
surrounding how much the divorce could affect Adele’s net worth, with some
suggesting that Simon could be entitled to up to half of the singer’s fortune.
In England and Wales, the starting point for the division of assets is equality,
but there are many different factors which could impact the final divorce
Of course, this is all
only speculation. The lengthy and very public court battle that we have become
accustomed to with other divorcing celebrities may never happen. The notoriously
private couple could come to an agreement about their divorce settlement
between themselves and we may never know what this arrangement is. Indeed,
according to some news outlets, the division of some of their assets may already be taking place, which means they would have already come
to an arrangement between themselves.
If this is the case and
they can reach an agreement on the way forward, the stress on Adele, Simon and
their child could be greatly reduced.
As for how the divorce
could affect the superstar’s music career? We’re not too worried, as there are
already rumours that a divorce album could be released by the end of the year.
Worried about what a
divorce could mean for your finances? Get in touch to book your free initial
consultation with one of our experienced family lawyers.
This article was written by Megan Bennie and Lauren
don’t know about you, but with my pension I’m very much ‘out of sight out of
mind’. My employer deducts a chunk of my
salary at source and pays it into a fund and I don’t have to worry about
carrying out transactions or making decisions.
For that reason, when I think about what my assets are, I usually forget
all about it. Lots of our clients are
the same. After bricks and mortar
property, for most people their pension will be their biggest asset so it’s
vital that their pension is taken into account in a financial settlement upon
divorce and protected as far as possible.
of the key mistakes people make in relation to pensions is thinking about the
value now and not the value in the future.
What clients often do is they think about security now (generally in the
form of somewhere to live) and trade it off for security in the future (in the
form of an income). Here is an
and Alex are trying to agree finances after their split. Jo has a pension of £100,000 and both Alex
and Jo are joint owners of a flat worth £100,000. Alex has a pension of
£10,000. Rather than put the flat up for
sale and split the proceeds and have Jo transfer a chunk of pension to Alex,
the couple decides that the flat will be transferred into Alex’s name and Jo
keeps her pension. So far, so neat.
might sound like a great arrangement: Jo has an asset worth £100,000, Alex has
an asset worth £100,000. Property prices
can and do go up in value but not in the same way as a pension does and usually
not as much. Plus, when you cash in a
pension you generally receive a lump sum then an income. If you have a property, you have somewhere to
live but it does not generally generate an income and would have to be sold to
release a lump sum.
way a pension works, the money in the fund is used to purchase an annuity which
pays out regularly to someone when they retire.
Jo’s pension will keep building and building as long as she keeps paying
in: the money she pays in is spread across many months, will likely be supplemented
by employer contributions and has tax advantages. Meanwhile, Alex’s flat might have increased
in value but not as much as Jo’s pension.
When Alex retires, if she wants to purchase an annuity to give her the
same or similar income to Jo, she might need three times as much to achieve the
same income. Will the flat have tripled
in value to allow this? Unlikely. Has she been receiving a tax break on the
money she’s put into the flat? No.
why it’s so important to protect as much of your pension as you can – or if you
don’t have a good pension, to see if you could be entitled to a chunk of your
spouse’s – they’re a tax efficient way to build up security for the future
slowly and in a way that (hopefully) grows without you having to do very much
aren’t the simplest topic and it’s never an easy task to balance up priorities
now with those you may have in the future. That’s why it is absolutely vital
that you get good legal advice in relation to pensions and divorce. A bad decision now could have consequences
decades and decades into the future. We work closely with independent financial
advisers and pension specialists to make sure our clients strike the right deal
for them now and when they reach retirement.
If you’d like some advice in this area, or any other area of family law,
you can call us on 020 7100 6100 to make an appointment or email email@example.com.
article was written by Megan Bennie and Sarah Arifi.
One of the most common questions that our clients ask us is
whether they have to wait two years to get a divorce. The answer is…maybe. There are various ways to go about getting a
divorce and the time you have to wait depends on your circumstances and the
route you go down to end the marriage.
The first thing to consider is how long you’ve actually been
married. You cannot start divorce
proceedings until you’ve been married for one year. Before the one year mark an annulment is
available in certain very limited circumstances. For most people though, a divorce will be
their only option and they have to wait until a year from their legal marriage
ceremony has elapsed.
If you’ve been married for more than one year and you wish to end
the marriage, you can begin divorce proceedings. There is only one ground for divorce in
England and Wales: the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. This must be
shown by reliance on one of five facts. These facts are commonly called
“grounds for divorce” in the press.
The first is adultery which must be admitted or proved in line
with the legal definition. This is harder to prove than you might think, and
many people are reluctant to admit adultery because they fear it will have
financial consequences for them although it generally doesn’t. If you want to
rely on adultery, you can do it as soon as you are able to divorce. Definitely no waiting for two years with this
The second fact is behaviour – commonly called “unreasonable
behaviour” though the behaviour doesn’t have to be all that unreasonable. The
most common examples of behaviour that we see in divorce petitions are
fundamental disagreements about money, work-life balance, how to raise children
and future plans. If you want to rely on
behaviour you can do so straight away – no need to wait two years.
The third fact – and the most rarely used – is desertion and this
one does need a two year wait to rely on it.
Desertion is when your partner has left you for at least two of the past
two and a half years without your consent, without a good reason and with the
intention of ending the relationship.
The reason this is so rarely used is that it is hard to prove a person’s
intent. Why risk a petition failing
because you can’t show their intent when you can just base it on their
behaviour (i.e. them leaving you for a significant chunk of time against your
wishes)? It costs time and money to amend a divorce petition that can’t proceed
because a fact can’t be proved so most people take the view that behaviour is a
safer option than desertion.
The fourth fact is two years’ separation with the consent of the
other party. This one does require a two
year wait but that time period does not always start when you might expect.
A great many of our clients tell us
they haven’t been separated for anything like two years so are surprised when
we tell them they maybe have been. The
Court will readily accept that you have been separated but living under the
same roof with your spouse. Why? The realities of modern living – mainly
property prices – mean it’s not as simple as picking up your things and moving
to a new home. Most families’ finances are stretched running one household:
they simply can’t set up and run another one for two years. If you’ve been living more like flatmates for
a period then you could be regarded as being separated. We look for things like shopping for food and
cooking separately, doing laundry separately, sleeping in separate beds (though
this is not always the case due to space issues), taking separate holidays and
socialising separately amongst other things. So, while this fact does require a
period of two years to elapse, the clock doesn’t necessarily start ticking when
you might expect.
The fifth and final fact is five years’ separation (with consent not
required from the other party). As with
two years’ separation, the timing of the separation can begin even while you’re
under the same roof.
It’s clear from the
information above that you don’t necessarily need to wait two years before you
start divorce proceedings so why do some people do it? The answer is simple, desertion
and the separation facts don’t require fault or blame to be placed at the other
person’s door in the same way as adultery and behaviour do. This can make a for a more amicable process
which is often the highest priority for clients. For others though, the priority is speed and
they want to get the ball rolling straight away so they choose to base their
divorces on adultery of behaviour. There is no right or wrong answer a to which
fact is right for any particular client.
That’s why we work with our clients and talk to them in detail about the
pros and cons of each fact, giving them advice tailored to their own unique
circumstances and aims.
If you’re thinking about
divorce and aren’t sure what to base it on or have any questions at all about
divorce or family law matters, you can book a free confidential consultation
with a Grayfords solicitor to discuss your case.
article was written by Megan Bennie and Sarah Arifi.
Spousal Maintenance is a complex issue which often leads
to much debate during financial proceedings on divorce. This is largely due to
the oft-cited claim that such maintenance payments – legally known as
Periodical Payments – are a “meal ticket for life” by obliging one spouse to
maintain the lifestyle of their former spouse for the rest of their life.
However, an analysis of legislation and recent cases highlights the courts’
approach is, in reality, not to use Spousal Maintenance as a “meal ticket for
life” but rather to use it as a temporary (when possible) safeguard from
hardship for the financially weaker spouse until they are able to stand on
their own two feet.
What is Spousal
Spousal Maintenance is a payment payable by one spouse to
the other to meet their income needs following a divorce. It may become payable
when there is a large difference between the incomes of the two spouses and/or
one spouse requires additional income, for example due to a disability. Such payments
are often made on a monthly basis and for a set period of years or for the
remainder of the spouse’s life. However, it is important to note that Spousal
Maintenance is not payable in all divorce cases.
Whether, and indeed how much, Spousal Maintenance will be
payable depends on numerous factors and is assessed holistically on a
case-by-case basis. For example, the length of the marriage, whether each party
is working and who is looking after any children of the marriage, amongst a
number of other factors. Another key consideration will be the determination of
what constitutes the parties’ “reasonable needs”. In determining this, numerous
factors will be assessed, particularly how much the parties need to live on,
standard of living during the marriage and how these costs can be met from the
Maintenance is not a “meal ticket for life”
It is arguable that historically the courts have interpreted
what constitutes “reasonable needs” widely, allowing some financially weaker
spouses to receive generous Spousal Maintenance payments. This has contributed to the argument that
such maintenance has become a “meal ticket for life”. However, the courts have
a duty to try and pursue a “clean break” (terminating all financial ties
between the spouses after a divorce) wherever possible. It should be noted though, a “clean break”
can never be achieved in relation to payments for children.
This focus on a “clean break” and therefore a reluctance
to provide, or continue to provide, Spousal Maintenance has been reinforced by
legislation and reemphasised by significant recent cases. Section 25 of the
Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, which governs Spousal Maintenance, has been
amended to state that the court should seek to achieve a clean break on divorce
or award Spousal Maintenance only for a set period of time. A recent Private
Members’ Bill put forward by Baroness Deech seeks to create a strong
presumption in favour of a five-year fixed term as the set period of time.
The case of Wright v Wright in 2015 reemphasises this
approach. Here, the wife was a stay-at-home mother and, in 2008, she was
awarded significant Spousal Maintenance following divorce. The husband
subsequently made a court application for the payments to be reconsidered and
varied. He argued that it was unfair for him to support his ex-wife
indefinitely whilst she made “no effort whatsoever to seek work”. The
court ordered that the payments be reduced and should end after a set period.
Importantly, while the court accepted that the wife did not have great earning
capacity, they highlighted that she must take some financial responsibility and
“just get on with it” and get a job, like “vast numbers of other
women with children.” Lord Justice Pitchford, sitting at the Court of
Appeal, rejected her challenge to the decision.
Last year’s Supreme Court decision in Mills v Mills can be
said to further reinforce the idea that Spousal Maintenance is not a “meal
ticket for life”. In this case, the couple divorced after a 15-year marriage. The
husband agreed that he would make annual payments to his ex-wife. However, by
2015, the wife had run out of money. She had incurred debts of just over
£40,000. She requested the court make an order against her ex-husband for the
shortfall. The Supreme Court refused to allow an increase in the wife’s
periodical payments, stating it was unfair to expect the husband to meet his
ex-wife’s additional financials needs.
What the above highlights then is that, in practice, the
courts will be reluctant to order Spousal Maintenance unless absolutely necessary
and even then, it will likely be for a temporary period until the financially
weaker spouse is able to stand on their own two feet as opposed to providing a
“meal ticket for life”.
How Grayfords can
Spousal Maintenance is an important mechanism which
provides a safety net from undue hardship for the financially weaker spouse
following a divorce. For example, one spouse may look after the children to the
detriment of their career and therefore find it difficult to stand on their own
two feet in the immediate absence of the financially stronger spouse. At the
same time, as the above demonstrates, it is equally important to ensure Spousal
Maintenance is only paid if absolutely necessary to avoid it being an unfair
“meal ticket for life”.
It is important to seek independent legal advice as each
case will be assessed on its own merits. Grayfords, a renowned firm for
divorce, is well-positioned to advise you based on what you are seeking.
This article was written by Megan Bennie and Ishtiaq
The sharenting divide: How
children feel about sharenting
With the seemingly never-ending increase in popularity of
social media and our apparently insatiable appetite for sharing every little
detail with our friends and family online (and depending on our privacy
settings, whoever else happens to be “listening”), it was only a matter of time
before we all started to wonder exactly how much is too much.
“Sharenting” – where parents share content about their
children on social media – has caused a great deal of controversy over the last
few years, with Barclays bank even warning that parents could be
making their little ones “fraud targets” in the future.
Not everyone is following the trend, however, with the Guardian
reporting that more than half of UK parents do not post videos or
photos of their children on social media, mainly due to privacy concerns.
But what do children think about so-called “sharenting”?
“Uncomfortable and bothered”
A report by the Children’s Commissioner, Life in
‘likes’, described how children talked about “feeling uncomfortable
and bothered” when their parents shared some photos. It went on to say that for
some children, this was due to the fact that they didn’t want lots of people to
see them or they did not like the way they looked. Other children said they did
not like to be “pestered and pressured” by their parents to share photos when
they did not want to.
One child was quoted as saying: “I don’t like when my mum
posts pictures of me, she just says ‘give me a picture’”.
Many children revealed that it was common for their parents
to post a ‘bad’ video or photo of them. They said they didn’t like this because
they were worried about people laughing at them.
According to the report, some children revealed that they had
even tried to take away their parents’ smartphones when a bad picture had been
What’s more, a report by
Ofcom found that only 52% of parents who do share photos say that
their children are happy for them to do so.
Reassuringly, the majority of parents who share photos (85%)
revealed they were careful about who could access the material.
To share or not to share?
With many of us using social media on a daily basis, it seems
that sharenting is, at least for the foreseeable future, an issue which is here
If you think your ex is sharing too much about your children
online, get in touch with us today to speak to an experienced family lawyer.
This article was written by Megan Bennie and Lauren Howells.
Schedule 1 of The Children Act 1989 enables the courts to
make orders regarding financial provision for children. Most commonly, claims
under Schedule 1 arise when non-married couples with children separate. They also arise with a ‘top up’ is sought
from a very high earner beyond their minimum child support obligations. As
there is no such thing as a “common law marriage” in England and Wales, often
the only claim that can made in situations where cohabitees separate is a claim
for child support and/or under Schedule 1.
What is child support?
Both parents are expected to pay towards the child/children’s
costs. Usually, this means that one parent (the non-resident parent) will end
up paying the other parent (the day-to-day carer of the child).
Child support claims – the Child Maintenance Service
If the separated parents cannot come to an agreement between
themselves (known as a voluntary or family-based arrangement), most parents who
are looking for financial provision for their child/children would ask the CMS
to calculate the child support. If the non-resident parent earns more than
£156,000 gross per annum (the highest amount the CMS can take into account),
the day-to-day carer of the child may decide to make an application to the court
under Schedule 1.
Schedule 1 claims – what can the courts award?
The courts have the power to award lump sum payments,
periodical payments and even the transfer of a property in order to meet the
housing needs of the children (in this instance, the property is almost always
returned to the other parent when the children no longer have need of it,
generally upon reaching adulthood).
What will the judge consider when making his/her
All of the circumstances of the case will be taken into account.
The judge will give regard to various factors, including both
the applicant and the respondent’s income, as well as any property they have.
The financial needs of the child will also be taken into account.
Does the child have to enjoy the same standard of
living as their step siblings?
This often comes as a shock to parents but legally, no, they
do not. There is no duty for the
paying parent to make sure the child’s lifestyle is the same as the better-off
parent or their other children.
Schedule 1 claims can be highly complex because there are many different factors to consider. What’s more, if a parent makes an unsuccessful Schedule 1 claim, they could find that they are responsible for both their own and the other parent’s legal costs. It is highly advisable that anyone considering a Schedule 1 claim seeks expert legal advice from an experienced family lawyer. Get in touch to book your free consultation with one of our team today.
This article was written by Megan Bennie and Lauren Howells.
A Russian oligarch has been ordered by a Swiss court to pay his ex-wife £2.68 billion.
Dmitry Rybolovlev, 47, met his ex-wife Elena Rybolovleva 30 years ago when they were both students. The pair were married for 24 years, during which time Mr Rybolovlev amassed a great fortune from his shares in a successful Russian fertiliser business, Uralkali.
The couple have one child together, a daughter who is in her teens.
Ms Rybolovleva filed for divorce in 2008 and the couple have been battling over the divorce settlement for 6 year. Ms Rybolovleva stated in the petition that the reason she wanted to divorce her husband was that she could no longer stand his infidelities. She went on to describe lavish parties where her husband had shared some ‘young conquests with his friends, and other oligarchs’.
However, the Swiss court has now ordered Mr Rybolovlev to pay his ex-wife a very precise 4,020,555,987 Swiss francs and 20 centimes. This is £2,681,297,538 and 78 pence – an estimate of half the Russian oligarch’s entire fortune.
Mr Rybolovlev’s fortune had been invested in a number of properties, trusts and companies, making calculating his precise wealth very difficult. During their marriage the couple bought numerous properties including a $95million Palm Beach, Florida, home purchased from Donald Trump, a £12million Hawaii mansion he bought from the Hollywood star, Will Smith, and La Belle Epoque penthouse in Monaco, where he lives, for which he paid £178 million.
He bought the Greek island of Skorpios from the Onassis dynasty last year for a reported £100 million for his daughter, Anna. The Island was the location for Aristotle Onassis’s wedding to the former US First Lady, Jacqueline Kennedy, in 1968.
Ms Rybolovleva currently lives in a lakeside mansion in Geneva.