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Big Payouts in the Costliest Divorces of the 21st Century

Fighting over money is a leading cause of conflict in a marriage. Financial woes are often cited as factors in divorce. Some may believe that people with big paychecks are immune to the budgeting arguments happening in lower and middle-class American homes. Not true.

High-net-worth couples are vulnerable to the same issues that lead any couple to divorce – even money. Some rich individuals also have considerable expenses and don’t always inform the other spouse about large purchases. Like any other married couple, the wealthy may also suffer from communication problems, incompatibility, infidelity, domestic abuse, and substance abuse.

Despite their similarities, one consistent element differentiates wealthy divorce from others: the size of the settlement.

Bill and Melinda Gates have reportedly finalized their divorce, but there are no known details. The results could make their settlement the most expensive in history.

Below, we highlight a few of the most expensive divorces so far in the 21st century.

Ewan McGregor and Eve Mavrakis (2020)

Actor Ewan married French production designer Eve Mavrakis in 1995. The split after 22 years. She received half of his earnings over the past 20 years plus $432,000 per year in spousal support and $180,000 per year in child support.

Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos (2019)

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos is one of the wealthiest people on the planet. He and his wife split in the midst of an infidelity scandal. They had been married for more than 25 years. The divorce settlement reportedly gave MacKenzie Bezos $38 billion.

Michael and Juanita Jordan (2016)

Married since 1989, the couple repeatedly tried to work out their difference after she initially filed for divorce in 2002. In the end, Juanita was awarded about $168 million.

Steve and Elaine Wynn (2010)

These Las Vegas casino tycoons were married to each other twice. The first marriage was from 1963 to 1986 and then they tried again from 1991 to 2010. Their second divorce settlement is reportedly about $1 billion.

Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren (2010)

The professional golfer and his Swedish-born wife divorced after 6 years of marriage. His serial cheating was well covered in the media. The divorce settlement was reported to be $710 million.

Madonna and Guy Ritchie (2008)

The union of singer Madonna and director Ritchie ended about eight years together. Their settlement awarded Ritchie $75 million and $92 million.

Bernie and Slavica Ecclestone (2009)

Formula One executive Bernie divorced his wife, Croatian model Slavica. The settlement is estimated at $1.2 billion. While Bernie has great wealth, it appears he is on the receiving end of the settlement. His ex-wife holds the deeds on a number of his assets.

Mel and Robyn Gibson (2006)

The couple supposedly separated the day after Mel was arrested for suspicion of DUI, which led to his anti-Semitic outburst. The couple’s prenuptial agreement reportedly entitled her to half of his earnings since the beginning of their marriage in 1980. She is estimated to have received $425 million.

Robert Johnson and Sheila Crump (2002)

Robert L. Johnson and Sheila Crump co-founded BET (Black Entertainment Television) in 1980, but that wasn’t their only collaboration. The couple wed in 1969 and split after more than 30 years of marriage. She reportedly received $400 million.

Special Considerations in New York High-Asset Divorces

The core of why a couple splits is often similar, no matter their tax bracket. Yet there are aspects of high-asset divorce that require a lawyer with significant experience in that realm. Multiple homes, real estate holdings, yachts, overseas bank accounts, expensive jewelry, fine art collections, and more require special legal insight.

At the Law Office of Dennis R. Vetrano, Jr., LLC, we are unphased by even the most complex divorces. We will be strong advocates for you, whether in negotiations or in a trial. Our goal is to help you start again.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation by calling (845) 605-4330.