Last week, Judgment was handed down in what has probably become the largest divorce settlement to date. A former London oil and gas trader has been ordered to pay his estranged wife £453m in what could be the biggest award ever made in Britain by a divorce court judge. The ruling was made by Mr Justice Haddon-Cave on Thursday in the Family Division of the High Court in London.
After a 20-year marriage, the wife was awarded a 41.5% share of a fortune totalling just over £1bn.
This settlement tops previous eye-watering awards such as:
• Jamie Cooper-Hohn, wife of financier Sir Chris Hohn, who was awarded over £330m in 2014;
• Galina Besharova, wife of Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky, rumoured to have accepted between £165m and £220m as part of a settlement in 2011;
• £48million for Beverley Charman (wife of John Charman, insurance magnate) in 2006;
• £30million for Sandra Sorrell following a 33-year marriage to Martin Sorrell, the founder of the WPP advertising empire; and
• Paul McCartney’s payment of £24.3 million to ex-wife Heather Mills, after only a four-year marriage.
The vast majority of our clients sadly cannot look forward to stratospheric awards of this nature but it serves to remind us why, despite the increasing weight attached to Nuptial Agreements and ever-more stringent approaches to maintenance awards, England’s reputation as the divorce capital of the world still stands.