Multi-million pound divorce award

We now know the outcome of the claim made by the wife in the divorce case against the Saudi billionaire.  To recap – the wife had asked for £238 million.  The husband had offered £37 million (which included the assets he had already gifted to his wife during the marriage).  The Court is used to a husband and a wife having different views of the amounts required to meet reasonable needs in a divorce case.  However, this must be the first case where the parties were over £200 million apart in what each thought was a reasonable amount!

We now know that the wife was awarded £75 million in total by the Court.  This included the assets that she already had.  We are waiting to receive a breakdown of how the Court arrived at this figure.

This was regarded as a “needs case”.  This was not a case of giving the wife half the assets that had accrued during the marriage.  I presume that the husband had these assets before the marriage. The Court has been required to decide how much is needed to meet the wife’s capital needs to include, in this case, more than one house, more than one car etc.  The Court will also have looked at the income needs for the wife.  The Court will have calculated how much the wife needs to live off each year.  The Court will then have capitalised this sum.  This means the husband makes a one off capital payment rather than making monthly or annual maintenance payments.  There is a specific table used by a Court to work out how much a spouse should receive.  The Court will look at the age of the spouse and the amount each year that the Court thinks is reasonable for the spouse to live on.  The Court is under a duty to capitalise a maintenance claim if there are sufficient assets available.  In many cases, there are insufficient assets available to meet each spouse’s capital needs. There is no surplus money for a further capital sum to be awarded to meet the income needs.

The wife in this case has now succeeded in obtaining the Court order for the total capital payment.  However, I suspect that most of the husband’s assets are tied up abroad.  These may be in countries that are beyond the reach of the Courts in England and Wales.  It is important to remember that getting the Court order can sometimes be only “half the battle”.  Enforcing an order usually requires expertise in deciding the most effective way to do this.

The same complications can arise with all cases, no matter how much the value of the assets involved.  It is therefore absolutely vital to obtain specialist advice from an experienced family law practitioner from the start.

If you have any questions with regard to financial matters arising from divorce then please contact Nigel Davies on 01562 820575 or email


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