The legal press is often filled with people fighting acrimonious and lengthy Court proceedings to ensure they get “every penny they are entitled to”. However, former maths teacher, Tony Hawkin is separating from one of Britain’s wealthiest entrepreneurs after 21 years of marriage because he does not like being rich and “isn’t in the habit of spending money”.
The parties met on a blind date whilst Mr Hawkin was a teacher and Ms Xiu Li was a student. It seems that the marriage continued happily until 2011 when Ms Xiu Li’s idea of building shopping centres in disused Chinese air raid shelters had earnt her an estimated £1.1 billion. This placed her in the Sunday Times Richlist.
It appears the parties immediately traded up from their semi-detached home in South Norwood and bought a £1.5 million mansion in Surrey. Despite this, it seemed that Mr Hawkin continued to prefer to lunch in the local Wetherspoons, buy books from the local charity shops and shun the lifestyle of the rich and famous. It is reported that Ms Li is now worth in the region of $1.2 billion. Yet the parties have been able to negotiate an amicable resolution to their separation which leaves Mr Hawkin walking away with $1 million. When the law goes to such extent to ensure that there can be an equal division of assets upon the termination of long marriages, Mr Hawkin’s approach has to be admired to a certain extent. In divorce proceedings, we always talk about “needs” and how these can be “generously assessed”. It must make a refreshing change to all for someone to be genuine and honest about how their needs can be met on a modest amount.