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Troubled waters: recovering international assets after divorce

Stranded in Dubai, a 377-foot yacht is being fought over by a Russian oligarch who refuses to hand over a penny to his ex-wife. With rounds of divorce proceedings in the ex-couple’s past, this case has family law complexities stacked on top of high asset business division complexities.

With an amassed fortune of around $1.4 billion from the sale of a company, and the purchase of this $500 million boat, the opportunity for a large settlement may have prompted the ex-wife to seek another divorce case—and this time she is trying the case in the English courts.

Divorce proceedings with multiple countries of residence

One of the main arguments of this case is where the divorce took place versus where the couple spent most of their lives. The British judge ordered $646 million be paid to the ex-wife because the ex-husband owns property in England. However, he was never a citizen and has refused this request. To enforce his original decision, the judge declared the $500 million yacht be given to the ex-wife. This request was also met with refusal.

The billionaire ex-husband is fighting back on the grounds that the couple divorced in Russia. Also, the divorce was over 10 years ago. To make matters more complicated, the ex-husband’s attorneys are seeking to handle the yacht ownership fiasco in local courts in Dubai, which would put the ruling under Islamic Shariah law.

Facing high-asset property disputes in international waters

However this case concludes, it will be known as one of the most costly and high-asset cases seen in recent years. The case involves several family law, business and property issues that create a complicated web, including:

  • The validity of past divorces and separations
  • Asset ownership issues
  • Hiding assets in offshore companies
  • Multiple countries of residence
  • International laws regarding property purchase vs. property location
  • Which nation’s legal systems can uphold their rulings
  • Infidelity
  • Child support needs
  • Children in and outside of the marriage
  • Spousal support
  • Determining net assets at the time of the divorce
  • Assessing the accurate worth of a company

Support for high-asset divorces and complex property division matters take on a whole new scale when international laws are involved. No matter what your assets are, it is essential to protect your best interests when it comes to property division. Using a team of attorneys that are experienced in the international scope of cases can help mitigate issues along the way—and help your property division be smooth sailing.

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