Roman Abramovich this week announced he is to separate from his third wife after 10 years of marriage – in a move which could potentially spark the world’s most expensive divorce.
The Russian oligarch, 50, who is worth £7billion, and his magazine editor wife Dasha Zhukova, 36, have ‘amicably’ agreed to part ways, but will continue to work together for their joint businesses and two children.
Discussing the potential cost of the impending divorce, Ayesha Vardag, President of family law firm Vardags, said that everything Abramovich built during his 10-year marriage will be shared equally with Dasha.
Roman Abramovich this week announced he is to separate from his third wife Dasha Zhukova in a divorce that’s predicted to be the world’s most expensive divorce
She said: ‘Roman Abramovich is by far the most prominent of Britain’s Russian billionaires and like many of his fellow countrymen he will be well-aware that a divorce in the London courts could be far more costly than one in Moscow.
‘The English courts start from the position that marriage is a partnership – and the starting point will be that everything built up during the marriage will be shared equally.
‘Whilst Mr Abramovich will want to show that much of his wealth was generated before the marriage, the substantial returns he has generated in nine years of marriage could be split with his wife Dasha. The courts will also take a generous approach to assessing her financial needs.’
As what could be the world’s most expensive divorce looks set to get underway, Ayesha has detailed the most expensive divorce cases in the UK.
Roman Abramovich this week announced he is to separate from his third wife after 10 years of marriage
1. AAZ v BBZ £453m
Mr Justice Haddon-Cave presided over the case of anonymous Russian nationals AAZ v BBZ in December 2016.
In this case, the husband’s argument for ‘special contribution’ was rejected and the wife was awarded £453 million, including a £90 million art collection.
2. Cooper-Hohn £337m
The case of philanthropists Sir Christopher Hohn and Jamie Cooper was concluded by Mrs Justice Roberts in December 2014.
The husband was successful in his argument for ‘special contribution’ and the judge departed from equality to award the wife £337 million, 36 per cent of the overall total assets.
In June 2017 Sir Geoffrey Vos then ordered Sir Christopher to make a payment of £282 million from his charity into his ex-wife’s own foundation.
The case of philanthropists Sir Christopher Hohn, left, and Jamie Cooper, right, saw her take £337 million, which was 36 per cent of the overall total assets
3. Estrada v Juffali £75m
The divorce between model Christina Estrada and Saudi billionaire Walid Juffali was finalised by Mrs Justice Roberts in June 2016.
The case was notable for the consideration of the couple’s ‘stratospheric’ standard of living and Juffali’s Islamic marriage to a second wife in 2012.
Mr Juffali had previously tried to avoid the proceedings through a ‘spurious’ assertion of diplomatic immunity.
The divorce between model Christina Estrada and Saudi billionaire Walid Juffali was worth £75m
4. WM v HM £73m
Mr Justice Mostyn presided over the case of WM v HM in May 2017. The husband’s claim for ‘special contribution’ was dismissed and the wife was awarded £73 million. The case was also interesting for Mostyn J’s words on valuing a business in hindsight.
5. Chai v Peng £64.5m
In April 2017, the wife was awarded £64.5 million by Mr Justice Bodey in the ‘titanic’ case of Chai v Peng.
The litigation between this former beauty queen and her business tycoon husband lasted four years and involved complicated jurisdiction battles between England and Malaysia.
6. Al-Baker £61million
The judgment for the multinational case of Al-Baker v Al-Baker was handed down in October 2016 by Mr Nicholas Cusworth QC.
Christina Estrada and Saudi billionaire Walid Juffali’s divorce was notable for the consideration of the couple’s ‘stratospheric’ standard of living
The case which stretched between civil and religious courts was remarkable because of the husband’s consistent non-compliance and non-disclosure which resulted in the wife being awarded £61 million.
7. M v M £54m
Mrs Justice Eleanor King DBE presided over the case of M v M in August 2013, resulting in the wife being awarded £54 million.
Owing to the Russian couple’s marital assets being tied up in offshore trusts, the case had an extra five respondents.
8. Charman £48m
In June 2007 Sir Mark Potter and two other judges at the Court of Appeal heard the case of Charman v Charman.
In the original judgment, the wife was awarded £48 million, proportionately 36 per cent of the matrimonial assets. The husband unsuccessfully appealed the decision arguing that his ‘special contribution’ had not been taken into account.
9. Sorrell v Sorrell £30m
The case of Sorrell v Sorrell was heard by Mr Justice Bennett in July 2005. This is one of the rare cases where a husband successfully argued ‘special contribution’, which led to Lady Sorrell being awarded £30 million, a 60/40 split of the marital assets.
The acrimonious split saw the head of advertising group WPP living for a time in the basement of their Knightsbridge townhouse. In the divorce settlement, she also got two parking spaces at Harrods.
Michelle and Scot Young, pictured on their wedding day in 1995, were involved in a particularly public divorce battle with £6m worth of costs
10. Young v Young £20m (£6m costs)
Mr Justice Moor handed down the judgment for Young v Young in November 2013.
Michelle and Scot Young were involved in a particularly public divorce battle where, though he was legally bankrupt, the wife insisted that the husband had thousands or millions hidden offshore.
Ultimately, the wife was awarded £20 million and the husband was ordered to pay £6 million – believed to be the highest costs order in family law history.