Lloyd Platt & Co Solicitors Blog & News
The Abramovich Divorce
There is much speculation today regarding the very surprising split between Roman Abramovich and his third wife Dasha Zhukova.
The Daily Mail would have us believe that it will be the biggest divorce ever but others believe that the divorce will not be so big and would have been entirely restricted by the contents of a pre-nuptial agreement, the contents of which we may never know.
So, what are the issues surrounding this powerful couple’s split? As a divorce lawyer, I hope to shed some late on the possibilities: –
What are the reasons why this 10-year relationship has suddenly come to an abrupt close?
Each newspaper and media outlet has speculated on the reasons. Is it the age difference between them with Roman Abramovich being 50 years of age and his wife 36? One issue that has come to the forefront in dealing with these kinds of cases is that whilst in the early stages of a relationship such an age gap matters not, it does have a significant role to play in the reasons why these marriages come to an end. However, that may not be the singular reason for this marriage to have come to a demise. The fact is that Roman Abramovich is a self-made man who was orphaned at the age of 4 and according to reports is sensitive about his lack of education. Dasha on the other hand, is the daughter of a wealthy Russian oil magnate and a mother who was a scientist. She was born into what is regarded as the Russian intelligentsia and was originally studying to become a doctor. This was abandoned when she commenced her own fashion brand. She is from a highly cultured background, he is a self-made business man who has become a billionaire. The difference in their backgrounds and approach may have emphasized his insecurities as the marriage continued and even inadvertently her smooth, slide into mixing with the wealthy intelligentsia may have further pushed his own feelings into the background. Is it still the case that wealthy men like a beautiful woman on their arm but do not necessarily like them to be overly intelligent? It is further said that he likes to spend time with his male associates talking about football (he owns Chelsea Football Club) and other business deals which are of no interest to the art loving young wife to whom he is married. As time has gone by, the rift and differences have pulled them apart.
Where will they divorce?
England or Russia? The smart thinking in relation to this is that Roman Abramovich will investigate divorce proceedings under the family code of Russia and will most probably in the absence of any pre-nup determining how matters should be dealt with, reach a sensible and quiet agreement with Dasha. This agreement will then be registered in the Courts in Russia.
Will Dasha instigate divorce proceedings in the UK?
It is more likely that she will come to a better financial outcome if she negotiates this with Roman Abramovich rather than face the discounted settlement that she will have if matters are debated publicly in the High Court or Appeal Courts in the United Kingdom. In the United Kingdom because this relationship has spanned ten-years with two children, Aaron aged 8 and Leah Lou aged 4, any maintenance claim that she has will be capitalised. She certainly does have a maintenance claim that would be considered in divorce proceedings in the United Kingdom. Their standard of living will be a very relevant factor in how the courts will approach the divorce here. In Russia, the court merely grant maintenance in rare occasions for example if someone is pregnant or within three years of the birth of the child, or where the wife has become disabled during the marriage, or the child disabled and the wife cannot meet her costs of living. Alternatively, if they are of pensionable age during the first five years after the divorce, after there has been a long marriage. None of these factors apply here. The Russian courts will treat as joint matrimonial property anything that has arisen during the course of the marriage and will state that the parties should divide this equally. If there is no pre-nup, they will take into account that the majority of the assets were preowned by him before the marriage, and will be ringfenced and disregarded for division. In Russia, any assets inherited during the marriage are also treated as separate property and do not come into divorce calculation. Accordingly, Dasha will get a lesser settlement in Russia then she would in the United Kingdom as the criteria for deciding a settlement is far higher and wider than in Russia.
Is there a prenup and if so what would have been in it?
It is likely that having been divorced twice before on the first occasion to Olga Lysova for three years and thereafter to his second wife Irina Malandina for sixteen years and having paid out a purported settlement of £150 million to Irina, it is most likely that Roman would have drawn up a pre-nuptial agreement prior to his marriage to Dasha. This pre-nup would most likely confirm that all pre-acquired assets will be ringfenced in whichever jurisdiction the divorce is issued in (although it would be likely to state that any future divorce would be held in Russia). It would also state that any increase in those assets during the course of the marriage, should also be ringfenced. It would more likely have a specific sum of money for each year of the marriage for example after one year £5m, after five years these pre-nups tend to dog leg giving a greater sum say for example £5m or £10m for each year of the marriage and after ten-years there would be a far greater jump of say £15m – £20m for each successive year. This may be the reason why perhaps at this stage where is likely to be a huge jump, the marriage has come to a close. Of course, one can only speculate.
Grounds for divorce
In the United Kingdom, there is only ground for divorce, namely that the marriage has irretrievably broken down based on certain facts ie adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, or two years separation with consent or five years separation. In Russia, divorce is based on one proposition, that the marriage has irretrievably broken. The Courts under the Russian family code cannot interfere with the divorce or prevent it on that there is insufficient basis to bring the divorce as they can here.
What is the settlement like to be?
The assets in this case consist of £7 billion approximately. Of this the majority was pre-acquired. The parties jointly appear to own entities known as The Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow and the new Holland Social and Cultural Centre in St Petersburg. Their joint announcement suggests that they will continue to run these entities. The other assets consist of a home in London worth £125m, a home in Antibes worth £30m and three houses in New York worth £58m, a yacht worth £1 billion etc. Any agreement between the parties will decide where Dasha wishes to reside together with the children and then consider what property would be best for her to reside in. Given the level of housing, it is likely that she will have a home worth in the region of £50m and be provided with a settlement of a further £50m given their lifestyle. Provision could also be made in addition for the benefit of the two children by way of maintenance or a Trust set up for their benefit. The parties will undoubtedly enter into a confidentiality clause written into the agreement so that part of any settlement that Dasha receives will be effectively to buy her silence over their relationship and his lifestyle. Roman will keep his interest in his football clubs, his yachts, bikes and cars and no doubt Dasha will be supplied with a relevant car and entitled to keep her own jewellery, art, bikes etc. As to the art collection that they both own, this will undoubtedly be divided by agreement or they may agree to house much of it in the Garage Museum for a specific period, after which time it will be sold by agreement.
Are they likely to go to war?
It is my view that these parties are unlikely to take this matter before the divorce courts either here or in Russian and will quietly reach agreement. It is said that Roman and Dasha zealously regard their privacy and for theContinue reading
Vanessa Lloyd Platt appears on The Wright Stuff
Did you see Vanessa Lloyd Platt appearing on the Wright Stuff last Friday on a discussion about divorce? The programme debates whether there can ever be a happy divorce with Vanessa confirming that thousands of Lloyd Platt clients have had happy outcomes and that the media should refrain from emphasizing the negatives about a family split which is adding to the difficulty for couples, children and grandparents countrywide.
Anne Diamond who was also present participating in the programmed was of the view that all couples should undergo therapy both before and during divorce to aide smooth transition. She also confirmed that she was assisted during her divorce process by Vanessa Lloyd Platt who helped her cope with all aspects of transition and calmed her down.
Vanessa firmly advocates therapy for couples undergoing difficulties either to assist their marriage in staying together or to assist the divorce process.
Anthea Turner who also was part of the debate has written a book about “Life after Divorce”, further debated the issue. This feisty debate demonstrated that everyone has a perspective in a discussion about divorce including the panel, the audience and outside callers.
To Watch the episode from 21 July 2017 go to http://www.channel5.com/show/the-wright-stuff
Lloyd Platt & Co Award Winning Law Firm
Lloyd Platt & Co are delighted to announce the latest awards won by the firm namely: – The ACQ5 Global Awards
1. UK Divorce Law Firm of the Year – Lloyd Platt & Co
2. UK Divorce Lawyer of the Year – Vanessa Lloyd Platt, Lloyd Platt & Co
The ACQ5 Global Awards were launched in 2005 and are now in their twelfth year and were the first of their kind in the global legal/financial publishing industry. Given the changing nature of the industry ACQ this year made fundamental changes to the categories in the ACQ5 Global awards to reflect these. The purpose of the changes were to focus on organisations and individuals that demonstrate an ability to deliver services and skills to meet client’s needs and to adapt to market and regulatory conditions, and to consider that candidates that may not always be global in scale but are truly world class in the way they are run and in the services, they deliver to clients.
ACQ5 Global Awards decisions are firmly based on peer nominations following the receipt of detailed submissions from market participants and extensive year-round research into the markets in all global regions. ACQ5 Global Awards cover global categories, best in class award and all regions of over 100 countries around the world. The voting closed at midday on 31st March 2017 and the number of nominations received stood at 83,121 representing a 37.6% response rate.
As Jake Robson, group editor of ACQ5 states “experts’ internet knowledge and expertise in the corporate, cultural, financial and legal arenas are redefining our industry.
The 2017 ACQ5 Global Award winners represent the best of breed in all industry sectors and have earned these honours by standing out in a group of very impressive finalists.”Continue reading
Jewish News Features Vanessa About Grandparents Rights
Grandparents are central to family life, they simply cannot be allowed to be the silent sufferers any longer. Accordingly, we call upon MP’s of all political parties and the media alike to assist with raising awareness of this important issue, the alternatives available and to press for leave of the Court to be shelved once and for all so that grandparents can be fully recognised and the vital role that they play in families today. …Continue reading
ICLG: Family Law 2017
ITV’s This Morning Appearance – Grandparents’ Rights
Help for Pet Disputes
Are you having problems deciding where your pets should live after a family dispute, divorce or relationship breakdown? Lloyd Platt & Co specialise in Pet Resolution (PR) and can help resolve these issues together with you. Lloyd Platt & Co have drawn up the world’s first pet nuptial agreement that can deal with any aspect of future problems over pets and can help you come to a comprehensive agreement over these issues. Do not let your pets suffer in silence, Lloyd Platt & Co can help. For information contact either Vanessa Lloyd Platt or Cara Roberts on 0208 343 2998 or by email on email@example.comContinue reading
Grandparents’ Silent Heartbreak
Grandparents have never been more needed than in this present era. During the last ten to fifteen years there has been a particular surge in grandparents being the preferred option to care for their grandchildren ahead of all other kinds of child care. Not only do grandparents provide care for their grandchildren but in many cases, they provide financial support to help their children on to the property ladder and can often assist in payment of school fees and other vital expenses for the grandchildren.Continue reading
Lloyd Platt & Co. Win Divorce and Separation Law Firm of the Year 2016
Lloyd Platt & Co. were delighted to accept ‘Divorce and Separation Law Firm of the Year’, awarded by Lawyer Monthly Legal Awards 2016.Continue reading
Publication in Lawyer Monthly
A recent article was published in Lawyer Monthly, featuring an interview with Vanessa Lloyd Platt regarding children in the divorce process. Within it, Vanessa addressed many common concerns which inviduals may have when going through a divorce or family dispute. The full article can be viewed here.Continue reading
Vanessa Lloyd Platt appears on Good Morning Britain
On 30 November, Vanessa Lloyd Platt appeared on Good Morning Britain to highlight the current discussions around changing the Divorce Law to having no fault based Divorce Petitions. You can watch Vanessa’s conversation with the Good Morning Britain team through this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3Oa8wXm10Q&sns=emContinue reading
Changes to Current Divorce Law in UK
Vanessa Lloyd Platt appeared today on Good Morning Britain to talk about the push for changing the current divorce law to having no fault based Divorce Petitions. Having had a very interesting spat with Piers Morgan she then went on to the Houses of Parliament to lobby with other members of Resolution.Continue reading
Divorce Law Guide 2016
A piece written by Vanessa Lloyd Platt has been published in the Corporate Live Wire Divorce Law Guide 2016. You can view the publication here by entering the password DL2016, or download a PDF version.Continue reading
Never work with animals? – Pet nups are on the rise as exes seek clarity over ownership upon separation
The below article was published in the Solicitors Journal online on 18th November 2016. You can view the full article here.Continue reading
Lloyd Platt & Co awarded UK Divorce Law Firm of Year 2016
Lloyd Platt & Co were thrilled to announce today the firm’s award for Law Firm of the Year in Divorce Law for the United Kingdom. The firm are recognised both nationally and internationally for their work as family practitioners and mediators. Vanessa Lloyd Platt, Director, regularly blogs for the Huffington Post and the firm are leaders in all areas of family law with Director Vanessa Lloyd Platt, regularly appearing in all parts of the media to deal with immediate and pressing family issues and commenting on celebrity divorces.Continue reading
No default Bill to be put before Parliament on Friday 13 May
Divorce lawyers countrywide were bristling with anticipation in January 2016 for the second reading of the “no fault divorce” bill which was introduced by Richard Bacon MP. Due to the previous session of Parliament being so jammed full of other matters the reading was postponed. This will be before Parliament on Friday 13 May. Some politicians are suggesting that this will be very unlucky for marriages generally if it is passed.Continue reading
Celebrity Marriages Last Just 7.4 Years on Average
Research from celebrity divorce lawyer Vanessa Lloyd-Platt, to mark the launch of new truTV show ‘Fatal Vows’ , shows that celeb marriages are 75% shorter than the national average, and are twice as likely to get divorced.Continue reading
To Leave or Not to Leave?
As Boris Johnson declared for Brexit two weeks ago, ie his support for Britain leaving the Eurozone, little could he have envisaged the knock on effect of this? Whilst it was predictable that such a political heavyweight, giving his support to such contention might affect currency and shares (this because of the added uncertainty of the British position in leaving the security of the Eurozone) what no one for saw was its impact elsewhere. Put simply, divorce lawyers country wide want to hug Boris because of the overwhelming influx of divorce and cohabitation cases as a consequence.Continue reading
The case of Francoise Rapp v David Rapp: Client wins £7.4 divorce pay-out
In the recent case of Francoise Rapp v David Rapp, we are exceedingly pleased on behalf of our client Francoise Rapp that the correct decision was made by the Court of Appeal in this matter. You can view the judgement on our reported cases page.Continue reading
Can I protect my interests prior to a divorce?
The cardinal rule is: don’t leave the house [in the event of relationship breakdown]. Doing so puts the other party in the driving seat. Try to get together as much legitimate paperwork as you can. Often, people come in with bags of stuff we are not allowed to look at because it has not been legitimately gained. If you go through your husband’s text messages or briefcase and take papers, they cannot be used. There are strict boundaries. Be aware of what his assets might be, what you have in your savings, and so forth. But do not panic about what you don’t know – 99 per cent of women have no idea what their partners earn. Don’t feel foolish or silly; this is normal. Be vigilant: as soon as credit cards are closed down, hotfoot it to the solicitor. Money being moved out of a joint account should ring alarm bels.Continue reading