A great many divorce cases make their way through the British family courts each year, with the vast majority attracting little or no attention from the media.
Occasionally, however, a divorce becomes much more high profile. This can be for a variety of reasons, such as the couple involved are well known public figures, or because the wealth argued over by the couple is vast, or even because the decision of the judge hearing the case are thought to have far-reaching implications.
Couple Argue over £440 Million
One such case that has attracted media attention is the divorce of Malaysian couple Khoo Kay Peng and Pauline Chai, whose split has been the subject of court proceedings since 2013.
He is a non-executive chairman of Laura Ashley Holdings, and she was a former Miss Malaysia. They had married in 1970 but for the past three years have been locked in a bitter legal battle, reports the Daily Mail. Ms Chai’s legal team claim that Mr Peng is worth an estimated £440 million, while he maintains his fortune is closer to £66 million.
Mr Peng had tried to have the divorce heard in Malaysia, however Ms Chai succeeded in having the case heard by the English courts on the grounds that the couple had lived in a property in Hertfordshire before getting divorced. She apparently still lives at this property, which is valued at around £30 million.
The family judge has now issued a decree absolute, bringing the marriage to an end, but not before the couple had reportedly accrued legal costs of around £6 million.
A decision on the financial settlement for Ms Chai has not yet been made, but she is thought to have asked for payments of £85,000 a month. A ruling on this is expected later this year.
A second case recently reported in the media involves significantly less money, but resulted in what has been described by some legal commentators as a ‘landmark’ decision by the judge, as it should act to deter future divorcing couples from attempting to hide assets abroad to prevent them from being taken into account in determining financial settlements.
The case in question concerns Amit and Ankita Goyal, who had married in 2004 and separated in 2011. They have one child together.
Mr Goyal used to work as an investment banker and earned £385,000 a year, but gambled away his wealth and accrued debts of £650,000, the Telegraph reports.
He had previously been ordered by a judge to hand over his last remaining assets of £19,000 in shares to Ankita, but instead gave this to a cousin he said he owed a debt to.
He was also found to have transferred three pension schemes from Britain to India in an attempt to hide these assets. He claimed that he had used this money to pay off another debt; however the family judge did not believe him. He was ordered to give his ex-wife two-thirds of his pension income, which will amount to around £4,000 a year. The judge acknowledged that this was a small amount, but believed it would still be helpful to Ankita going forward.
For expert legal advice on divorce and separation, including the financial implications of divorce, then contact our specialist family lawyers today.