Ex-model’s divorce settlement based on actual needs
An interesting recent case is that of Christina Estrada (aged 54) a former Pirelli calendar model who recovered a £75 million divorce settlement from her billionaire ex-husband in circumstances where she was actually looking for the sum of £238 million which she said would meet her reasonable needs.
The parties had been married for 12 years and have one daughter. The unusual facts in this case were that her husband Sheikh Wald Juffali divorced her under Islamic law and in 2012 remarried a 25 year old Lebanese model without her knowledge. He in fact has three wives. He tried unsuccessfully to argue his diplomatic immunity prevented Ms Estrada from having access to legal justice but she obtained leave under part three of the 1984 Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act to apply for financial relief in this country as she was unable to do so in Saudi Arabia.
The wife contended the husband was worth some £8 billion (albeit his lawyers said this figure was grossly inflated and his net worth was more like £113.8 million) and the wife had amassed a fortune of £20 million in her own right much of which the husband argued came from him.
Mr Juffali argued he had adequately provided for his wife and he was willing to offer her a substantial cash sum (£17 million) and the use of a luxurious (£6.5 million) house in London in the parties’ daughters name for the next five years. Ms Estrada said in court that she needed £1 million per year for clothes, including, for example £21,000 for shoes. She explained to the Court as a top international model this was the lifestyle she was used to and that she needed enough money to enable her to afford her London Home (£60 million) a luxury home in Henley-on Thames (£4.4 million) and just under half a million for five cars. She already had a home in Beverly Hills, a flat in London and the family home was in Windsor Great Park. This was a case where the wife’s needs were put at the highest level and was argued on the basis she needs amongst other items £26,000 for her mobile phone and £2.1 million for travel costs.
The case was determined on the basis of Ms Estrada’s needs and although the award made was somewhat less than she had hoped for, she still recovered a substantial sum.
Whilst in the realms of the super wealthy this case highlights the fact the actual needs of the parties are what is relevant. Clearly when looking at the respective parties’ income and capital needs it is very important to carefully consider these to ensure they are pitched at the right level and this is where your solicitor can step in to assist and advise.