5 Lessons From The UK’s “Most Expensive Divorce”

most expensive divorce

Need some motivation to keep negotiations on track in your divorce? 

Look no further than the divorce of Russian oligarch Farkhad Akhmedov and his ex-wife Tatiana Akhmedova. Their divorce is billed as the “most expensive divorce” in the history of the United Kingdom, and may soon be called “the longest” as the bitter feuds shows no signs of slowing. 

A few years ago, we wrote about Ms. Akhmedova’s fight for the couple’s super yacht and Mr. Akhmedov’s refusal to hand it over.

It’s now two years later…and the fight continues, with even more acrimony on both sides. Ms. Akhmedova, who was awarded over 40% of her ex-husband’s wealth by the British courts, including the yacht, claims that she has not received a single penny from the settlement. 

What went wrong? According to reports on this new round of court battles, Mr. Akhmedov apparently circumvented the settlement by placing the yacht and other financial holdings in an off-limits trust based in Lichtenstein. 

Why Lichtenstein? Turns out the tiny country has no reciprocal agreements with the UK over the enforcement of court orders, and so the trust has no legal obligation to honor the settlement papers. Ms. Akhmedova has now sued the trust in a bid to get around this latest legal hurdle. In another twist, Ms. Akhmedova has also taken legal action against her 26-year-old son Temur, claiming that he is aiding his father in hiding assets from her. 

When billions are in play in a case like this, court fees and costs probably don’t mean very much. But in the scheme of things, even ultra high net worth couples are affected by a dragged out bitter divorce for reasons we can all understand.

Here are 5 takeaways:  

  • An endless divorce keeps you stuck fighting the past instead of being able to fully focus on your future. 
  • When your divorce drags on and on without being finalized, it means that you are still married! If you have a new serious romantic partner in your life, this could affect your future plans.
  • Being constantly ensnarled in a bitter war hurts your kids as there is little breathing room for you and your ex to gain perspective and start a fresh new relationship as co-parents. Mr. and Mrs. Akhmedov have even managed to drag their adult son into the middle of their divorce, a move that may have lasting repercussions in their family.
  • Hiding assets is never a winning strategy. What Mr. Akhmedov hopes to protect may only result in him needing to pay out even more if the courts find him in contempt of the divorce order. (The courts could assess him fines or revise asset shares for being in contempt.) 
  • Try to settle out of court through savvy negotiations. The Akhmedova divorce is high profile because of the exorbitant marital assets involved. But we know so much about it because so much of the couple’s dirty laundry is being aired through their endless court hearings! For privacy’s sake, Mr. and Ms. Akhmedova could take their divorce of out of the public eye by working through negotiations with their attorneys out of court. Without the pressure of knowing their every move will be reported in the press, perhaps cooler heads could prevail. 

Every problem has a solution, including divorce problems! Are you caught up in a high-conflict divorce? We can help you find the path forward again. For an assessment of your divorce, please contact us today to schedule a virtual consultation with one of our family law attorneys. Call us at 888-888-0919, or please click the green button below. Learn your rights and safeguard your future. 

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