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Divorce Comes Under the Media Spotlight

A number of interesting divorce stories have been reported in the media recently.

The first such case involved a woman who was given permission by the Supreme Court to lodge a financial remedy claim against her ex-husband around 20 years after they divorced, reports the BBC.

Kathleen Wyatt and Dale Vince married in 1981 and divorced in 1992. During their marriage, they lived as new-age travellers, but after their divorce Mr Vince established his own company, Ecotricity, which is now thought to be worth around £107 million.

Ms Wyatt went to court in 2011 to claim a ‘financial remedy’. Her claim was challenged by Mr Vince on the grounds that too much time had passed since they had divorced. The question of whether she was entitled to bring her claim went all the way to the Supreme Court, which eventually gave her the go-ahead in March last year.

Her case then went back to the High Court to determine the amount she should be awarded. She had initially claimed £1.9 million, however the judge thought that this was excessive. He commented that Ms Wyatt was "entitled to receive a modest capital award", reports the BBC, and awarded her £300,000.

In another divorce case, reported this time in the Guardian, a woman is seeking a divorce settlement of £238 million from her ex-husband, who is a billionaire from Saudi Arabia.

Sheikh Walid Juffali and Christina Estrada were married for 13 years and have a daughter together. He used the Muslim talaq process to divorce his wife in Saudi Arabia in 2014. She was given permission to bring a claim for financial relief in the English courts because she was unable to do so in Saudi Arabia.

The couple had lived a highly luxurious lifestyle, and Ms Estrada says that the size of her claim is necessary to enable her to continue living in a similar way. Her claim for £238 million includes:

  • £68 million for a property in London
  • £495,000 for cars
  • £1.02 million per year for clothes and jewellery

However, her ex-husband’s lawyers say that Ms Estrada is independently wealthy and already has assets of over £16 million. They described her claim for £238 million as being “firmly in ‘gasp’ territory” and have offered her £32 million, which they say is in keeping with the £42 million settlement awarded to the Sheikh’s first wife.

A third case, this time from Australia, provides a good example of what can happen when divorce proceedings are allowed to spiral out of control.

The couple in question were married for 12 years, but spent the next ten years locked in a legal battle with each other over the division of their assets, reports the Daily Mail. In order to finance their epic legal battle, they ended up accumulating debts that were substantially greater than the assets they were fighting over.

The wife took out loans against the family home of around $700,000 dollars and now faces bankruptcy, and the husband ended up dipping into his pension savings to pay his $235,000 legal costs.

Our family lawyers are experienced in all aspects of separation and divorce and can advise you on the best approach for your individual circumstances.

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