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Ex-wife of Russian billionaire awarded record-setting divorce settlement

When a couple decides to divorce, there are a number of matters that must be sorted out and decided upon. Divorcing couples face many questions related to property and assets, child custody and spousal support. Additionally, there are the emotional aspects of divorce that must be addressed as two individuals attempt to untangle their personal and financial lives from one another. Given these factors, it's no wonder that divorces can become contentious.

Divorces involving couples of considerable wealth can be particularly contentious as both spouses seek to retain as much wealth as possible. Recently, the world became familiar with the Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev who is known to many as the Russian fertilizer king. While Rybolovlev is well-known to individuals of a certain class, he made headlines across the world recently when he was ordered to pay a $4.5 billion divorce settlement to his ex-wife.

Married for more than two decades, by all outward appearances Rybolovlev and his wife Elena lived a charmed life. After becoming a majority shareholder of a multi-billion dollar Russian fertilizer company, Rybolovlev spent his fortune buying expensive real estate properties and even a Greek island for his eldest daughter. While the couple certainly enjoyed the finer things in life, their marriage began to crumble.

After enduring her husband's alleged philandering for years, Elena filed for divorce in 2008 and took action to freeze her husband's assets. She also embarked on a public campaign to expose the extra-marital escapades of both her husband as well as those of his fellow Russian oligarchs as she sought to win half, or $6 billion, of her husband's estimated net worth.

Six years after first filing for divorce, a Swiss judge recently ruled in the divorce case and granted Elena a $4.5 billion settlement. Rumored to be the largest divorce settlement ever awarded, in addition to liquid assets, the judge also granted Elena multi-million dollar real estate properties as well as primary custody of the couple's 13-year-old daughter.

Rybolovlev's attorneys have pledge to appeal the judge's decision. It's likely, therefore, that we haven't heard the last about the high asset divorce between the warring Rybolovlevs.

Divorces involving couples with considerable amounts of assets can be particularly complex. It's important, therefore, that individuals who are going through a high-asset divorce take steps to secure a divorce attorney who has successfully negotiated and secured favorable divorce settlements for similar clients.

Source: The Washington Post, "Russian oligarch’s $4.5 billion divorce settlement may be ‘the most expensive in history’," Terrence Mccoy, May 20, 2014

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