The Super Rich Are Filing for Divorce in London

A center of international trade and finance, London is home to many of the most powerful business people on the planet. Over the past decade, London has also gained a new title, Divorce Capital of the World.

Some of the richest men in the world have been served divorced papers from the courts of England. Wealthy wives across the globe have decided they will get a larger share of the money if they get a British divorce. Here are three reasons the super rich get divorced in London.

1) Judges Have the Final Say
Unique to British courts is the tremendous amount of power judges have over the final terms of a divorce. With fewer direct divorce laws in England, judges have broad leeway in how to divide assets. While divorce courts in other countries strive to equitably divide the marital assets, there is an assumption in English courts that the spouse who earned less during the marriage will fair worse after the divorce and, therefore, needs to be protected in the proceedings. Choosing the right judge can make all the difference and substantially change the final settlement.

2) 50% is Always on the table
The starting point in any English divorce is a straight 50/50 split of all marital assets. In any asset division, the lower earning spouse is usually given preference. British law also has a very expansive view of community property, often including assets that would not be marital property in other countries. The final settlement can be adjusted as the judge sees fit, giving one spouse (often the wife) more than 50% based on the circumstances of the case. In high profile cases this can mean the differences between hundred of millions or even billions of dollars.

3) Lifetime Spousal Support
English divorce law is based on the foundation principle that both spouses contributed to the wealth of the marriage equally, even if only one spouse worked. In order to ensure that both spouses equally benefit from the success of the marriage, most British judges will award generous spousal maintenance and usually order lifetime payments. Even if alimony is not ordered in the original divorce settlement, a spouse has the right under British law to return to court and ask for it later. Lifetime alimony from their ex-husbands is another reason the world’s richest women choose to get divorced in London.

The end result of Britain’s unique divorce laws is that wealthy European, Asian, and American wives usually receive far more money when they get divorced in London than they would have in their home countries. Many of the world’s richest spouses have purchased homes in the English countryside for just this reason.