The High Court in London, viewed by many as the divorce capital of the world, has just ordered a £75 million divorce settlement to Christina Estrada, the ex-wife of a Saudi billionaire. This article in the Guardian reports that she already owned assets in excess of £20 million, and her ex-husband was ordered to pay her a further £53 million.
So why is London the divorce capital of the world? The answer is simple. The law in England and Wales provides much more generously for wives than lots of other countries. So, if wives have the option of starting divorce proceedings in London, they generally do.
This particular case is interesting because divorce proceedings took place elsewhere, so the English Courts were unable to deal with the finances during the divorce like they usually would. The wife instead had to rely on a separate law - the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984 - which allows the English Courts to make financial provision for a spouse even after a divorce has been obtained in another country.
A former Pirelli calendar model has won a £75m divorce settlement from her billionaire Saudi ex-husband after arguing in the high court that she had to meet her “reasonable needs”. Christina Estrada, 54, had been seeking £238m from Sheikh Walid Juffali, 61, with whom she has a daughter. Her lawyers said the total settlement, taking into account her assets, was about £75m, a figure that included a cash payment of £53m.