As we all know, divorce is no smooth experience. The complexity of each divorce varies depending on the emotional state between parties, their willingness to complete an amicable and efficient divorce, and the involvement of children or financial arrangements.
When it comes to arranging financial settlements, the Court tends to start at a 50/50 split before considering each party’s income and pension situation and reassessing from this information. There is no solid rule, however, and it depends entirely on each individual case. For example, if the husband is the breadwinner whilst the wife maintains the home and childcare, it could be seen that each party has equal input into the marriage. If one party has a huge pension saving and the other has nothing, funds may have to be transferred to balance out the pension pots.
It is a complex and sometimes confusing process which benefits from solicitor guidance. Whilst some couples take an amicable approach, making mutual agreements and maintaining a functional relationship, others are more demanding in their settlements and make requests that are excessive, complicated and sometimes, just downright bizarre! We can thank the US for most of these settlement examples:
1. Sing a song of sixpence:
Marvin Gaye may have been a great singer, but he was certainly not a great accountant. Finding himself devoid of legal funds, he agreed that his ex-wife would receive all his earnings from a specially recorded album. Unfortunately for her, the album and its divorce-oriented theme sold very little copies and was, like the settlement, a disappointment.
2. Call the Wedding H-off:
David Hasselhoff agreed a settlement with his ex-wife in which he kept total possession of his nickname, the ‘Hoff’, and the catchphrase ‘Don’t Hassle the Hoff’.
3. No Prizes for Winning:
Robert Lucas, winner of the 1995 economics Nobel prize, was required to hand over half the funds he made from his win to his ex-wife, as part of their divorce settlement in 1988. However, with the settlement expiring in 1996, had he won the prize just one year later, he could have kept it all to himself! In comparison to Albert Einstein, who was required to hand over the whole lot from his 1921 physics win, things weren’t so bad.
4. Going Dutch:
As a common starting point is to divide everything 50/50 between parties, this is exactly what Cambodian couple Moeun Sarim and Vat Navy did. They proceeded to cut the marital home in half before Moeun deconstructed his half and carted the building supplies to his parents’ home.
5. You’ve got to be Kidneying Me:
Donating an organ to a loved one is a strong mark of compassion, until it is requested back! Dr Richard Batista demanded that his ex-wife return the kidney he donated to her or alternatively, provide $1.5 million. Thankfully for his ex-wife, the Court rejected his request on the basis that the donation was a ‘gift’ rather than a ‘loan’ and would cause her disastrous health effects.
7. Bye-ble Bye:
We all like a hotel freebie. But when hotelier Conrad Hilton divorced his Hungarian wife, Zsa Zsa Gabor, he felt it necessary to leave her with 5,000 Gideon Bibles.
8. Staying Write by his Side:
Belgian Author, Georges Simenon, left his wife a large alimony on the condition that she lived no more than six miles away from him to facilitate contact with his children.
9. No Time Like the Present:
Peter Sellers was half way through divorcing his fourth wife when he dropped dead with a heart attack. Unfortunately for his children, he had not yet amended his Will which stated that his wife was to receive the majority of his earnings. Therefore, a whopping $7 million went over to the ex-wife/widow, whilst each of his children received a mere $750!
10. Your Royal Ex-Highness:
Charles and Diana’s asset division was no simple affair. Among the many things divvied up, Diana lost her title of ‘Her Royal Highness’. However, she did manage to hold on to her jewellery, her home of Kensington Palace and the right to entertain at St James’ Palace (with the Queen’s permission), along with a comfy settlement of $22.5milion.