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Some of the highest asset divorces

California residents may know all too well the complications that are involved in divorce. In a state where the divorce rate is rising above 50 percent, a separating couple is no longer a rare event. The state of California, due to its many attractions to celebrities and dotcom success stories, also holds a large number of high-asset divorces.

High-asset divorces can often be slightly more complicated than other processes of separation, merely due to the amount of assets involved in discussions. Obtaining a high asset divorce can include determinations of how to divide not only a family home and car, but a summer cabin, vacation home, stocks, retirement funds and bank accounts.

Recently, media mogul Rupert Murdock announced his intention to divorce his wife of over ten years. Murdock is worth around $9.4 billion and the separation will no doubt involve a substantial amount of negotiation over asset division. The event inspired one news source to identify some of the most expensive divorces of all time.

A famous race-horse breeder and art dealer paid out to his now ex-wife $2.5 billion when they divorced. On top of that, he was also ordered to pay $100 million per year after the separation. The owner of The Wynn in Las Vegas divorced from his wife for the second time in 2010. While there is some discussion surrounding the exact amount he paid out during divorce, his then wife got about 11 million shares of the casino operations, likely amounting to approximately $740 million.

California is a community property state which means that most property acquired during the marriage is subject to equal division in the event of divorce. It is often imperative couples sign prenuptial or postnuptial agreements in order to ensure a fair and equitable result in the event of divorce.

Source: NBC Bay Area, "The Most Expensive Divorces of All Time," An Phung, Friday, June 14, 2013.

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John T. Chamberlin, Attorney at Law
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