London cemented its reputation as the divorce capital of the world after a businessman was ordered to pay his ex-wife £72.3m, amounting to half his wealth.
Randy Work, a former private equity executive at Lone Star, argued that his £150m fortune should be protected from ex-wife Mandy Gray as he was the “breadwinner” and because of a post-nuptial agreement the US couple had signed in Texas.
However, the High Court, ruled against him, saying: “Having offered to pay her nothing you now have to pay her tens of millions of dollars.”
The judge said the pair had been equal partners in a relationship of more than 20 years.
Vicki McLynn, principal lawyer specialising in family law at Slater and Gordon, said: “London remains the divorce capital of the world because of this equal sharing concept.”
She continued: “The starting point in a case like this is to share everything equally, so the outcome isn’t surprising because that is the court’s general position.”
McLynn added that the Texan post-nup was not binding on English courts.
Thousands of wealthy Chinese, Russians and Americans have ended their marriages before an English judge.
Some of the most high profile UK divorces include those of Heather Mills, who secured £24.3m from former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney in 2008. Bernie Ecclestone is also reported to have paid out £750m in a private settlement to his ex-wife Slavica.
McLynn said: “This ruling showed a well respected family judge reinforcing the role of the homemaker and reinforcing recent cases.
“It’s important to remember that all of Work’s money was made during the marriage. If it had not been, there may have been a slightly different outcome.”
Work has the option of fighting the decision through the appeal courts, but legal experts said that this was and unlikely course of action.
MULTI-MILLION DIVORCE SETTLEMENTS
SIR CHRIS HOHN
Hedge fund boss Hohn was ordered to give his former wife Jamie Cooper-Hohn a third of his £1bn fortune last year. US-born Cooper-Hohn had argued at the High Court that she was entitled to half their assets but was instead awarded a payout of £337m
Irina Abramovich, wife of the Chelsea Football Club owner, was estimated to have been awarded £155m when their 16-year marriage ended in 2007. Details are hard to come by due to secrecy laws in Russia.
Ashley, the billionaire retail tycoon and Newcastle United owner, forked out £50m in 2003 when divorcing Swede Linda Jerlmyr. Ashley, who owns a controlling stake in retail giant Sports Direct, married Jerlmyr in 1989 and the couple had three children together before they split.
The former private equity executive at Lone Star Work has had to stump up £72m to ex-wife Mandy Gray