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Wife’s family wealth ‘should be considered’ in divorce

A Saudi wife’s wealthy family should be taken into consideration when her divorce settlement is decided, her ex-husband has claimed.

The London-based couple separated in 2013 after 14 years of marriage and three children. Following their divorce, they could not agree on a financial settlement. The 46 year-old husband insisted that he should not have to provide his former wife with funds to buy a new home because her father is a “remarkably wealthy” man. Meanwhile his ex-wife argued that it was “unfair” to expect her to rely on family money after her marriage had ended.

In a 2015 High Court ruling, Mrs Justice Roberts accepted the husband’s offer which consisted of a £2 million lump sum payment to his wife and allowing the woman to live in the matrimonial home until her father dies. This was a property in Central London overlooking Kensington Gardens and the Albert Hall.

The Judge noted that the father’s fortune is estimated at around £500 million. He amassed this wealth through property, engineering oils, jewellery and other ventures. Under Saudi law, his daughter will inherit a fifth of his estate, making her a “multi-millionaire in her own right”.

However the wife was not satisfied with this ruling, claiming she should be given enough money to buy a new home for herself and has now taken her case to the Court of Appeal. She says that her father, who is currently in his 70s, should not have to provide for his adult daughter especially as her ex-husband, a former Goldman Sachs banker, is worth a fortune.

Her barrister argued that there is “no principle of law that a wife should become the responsibility of her birth family upon divorce”. Pushing back against the appeal, the husband’s barrister claimed that while the man may be wealthy, he was “much, much poorer” than his wife’s father, and that this dispute was “a case of a husband from a wealthy Saudi family and a wife from an ‘extremely’ wealthy Saudi family”.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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  1. Andrew says:

    My general view is that only the means of the parties are relevant and that future expectations should be ignored – not least because the inheritance may be eaten up by the care home fees or the testator may make s new will.

    But where a foreign law prevents disinheritance and the amounts concerned are so vast as to make any such fees a drop in the ocean it would be preposterous to ignore the realities of life,

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