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High Court ruling sees UK's biggest divorce settlement

12/05/2017 News Team

A Russian billionaire has been ordered to pay his estranged wife £453 million in a divorce settlement at the UK’s High Court, despite the husband’s attempts to argue that he had made a ‘special contribution’ to the union.

The couple – who have not been named - married in Russia before moving to Surrey with the husband selling his stake in a Russian company for $1.3 billion (£1 billion).

The husband had claimed that he had made a ‘special contribution’ to the marriage but the judge, Mr Justice Haddon-Cave, decided that both parties had made “equal contributions to the welfare of the family.”

According to Hannah Field, a senior associate at Russell-Cooke, the husband was understood to have argued that because he had made a special contribution to the marriage “there should be a departure from equality when it came to the dividing of the family assets.” 

Ms Field added that it is well documented in case law that an argument for special contribution is “extremely difficult to mount”, especially in circumstances where the wife has made a full and valid contribution to the marriage. 

“A full and valid contribution to the marriage is not just measured by reference to financial contributions to the marriage but importantly the role of supporting and bring up children as well as running the family home,” she said. “This case does no more than reaffirm that the bar for pleading special contribution is set high and is very difficult to establish.”

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