A divorce can be an ugly legal matter, but when the extremely wealthy are involved, the final price tag could be quite expensive – in the billions. A case in point is the divorce between Harold Hamm, a fracking pioneer, ordered to pay his ex-wife $1 billion (well, it was $995.5 million, but who’s counting?), as reported by Fox News.
Sound like a historical settlement? Think again. Russian billionaire Vladimir Potanin may be forced to pay his ex as much as $7.5 billion if the case goes her way. Another Russian billionaire, Dmitry Rybolovlev, who earned his billions producing agricultural products, was forced to pay his ex-wife $4.5 billion in settlement in a 2014 divorce.
Other billionaires have also been ordered to pay settlements in the billions, including Bernie Ecclestone, with a settlement of $1.2 billion, making her the recipient of the most valuable divorce settlement in Britain, as reported by the International Business Times. British billionaire hedge fund manager Chris Hohn is reported as being ordered to pay his ex 337 million pounds – or $530 million U.S., in the same article.
Jocelyn Perisse, dubbed the “Catwoman” for her shocking appearance from extensive plastic surgeries, collected a cool $2.5 billion when her 30 year marriage disintegrated.
Rupert Murdoch has been divorced twice, and the same article speaks of rumors that he paid his first wife a settlement of as high as $1.7 billion, but the truth will likely never be known – it could be much lower, or higher. As the actual settlement amounts were not revealed, so one can only guess at what he paid either wife number one or wife number two.
The news source also reports that billionaire Adnan Khashoggi was ordered to pay his former wife $874 million as a divorce settlement.
If you are planning to get married, and own substantial assets, protecting these assets is a real concern. Many people fail to put a prenuptial agreement in place, and when the marriage fails, have deep regrets. A marriage partner that is marrying for love will not be likely to try to fight a prenuptial, and in fact may welcome it.
These agreements are often contested in a divorce, however. Just having a prenup does not ultimately guarantee full protection. For any prenuptial agreement, it is imperative that the highest level of legal counsel is involved. The wording of the document is of extreme importance – a few words out of place can create a legal nightmare, as was made in clear in the McCord divorce, as reported in the Huffington Post. These divorce cases can take years to settle, and once the battle lines are drawn, both parties become more and more unwilling to compromise.
If you are planning to marry, and need a prenuptial agreement, the legal wording of the contract, and every other detail surrounding the document must be thoroughly and carefully evaluated. The prenup may later be challenged, and careful, highly professional legal work from a qualified attorney could not be more important.