Monthly Archives: June 2015

Highest-ever divorce settlement reduced by $4 billion

The divorce of the Russian couple is being heard in Swiss courts. In 2005, the husband transferred much of his fortune into offshore trusts in Cyprus. His wife is not the beneficiary on those trusts, and in 2008, she filed for divorce. The conflict over her husband’s wealth, which he made in the Russian fertilizer industry, has been going on for seven years, and her attorney plans a further appeal. Under Swiss law, she is entitled to half of the marital assets.

The husband also owns the Monaco Football Club as well as real property in the U.S. However, in July, a divorce claim will be heard in Russia that deals with even larger amounts by the ex-wife of a billionaire who is estimated to be worth $15 million.

High-asset divorces may have a number of features that those involving couples of more modest means do not, including prenuptial agreements, property in multiple states or even other countries, and complex trust and other financial arrangements. While division of marital assets is generally supposed to be equitable, this actually leaves a great deal of room for negotiation if the couple is willing to do so. However, there may be additional complications if one spouse is attempting to conceal assets or challenge a prenuptial agreement. Whether property division is decided amicably or through litigation, an attorney may be helpful in representing a spouse’s interests.

Source: CNN Money, “Russian oligarch’s divorce bill cut by $4 billion,” Ivana Kottasova, June 12, 2015

Financial considerations for divorce

Having a good legal and financial team is important as well. Depending on the number and type of assets that need to be divided, individuals may not need to have a large legal team. While spouses cannot share attorneys, there is sometimes no conflict of interest in sharing a financial adviser.

Finally, people should make certain that they get all agreements in writing. If the divorce is amicable, they may feel as though this is not necessary, but they could be jeopardizing their own financial stability as well as that of their children.

Those who are considering filing for divorce may want to take a look at their overall financial situation before discussing the situation with their spouse. This may be a good idea even if they anticipate an amicable split because it can be difficult to predict how people will react in such a stressful situation. People in this situation may want to educate themselves about their household expenses if they are not already well-informed, and they might want to have a consultation with an attorney to discuss what to expect even if they are not yet certain about going through with the process.