divorce, settlement

Would you sue your own 13-year old daughter and step-daughters to claim £75 million?

This is the question faced by Christina Estrada, a former Pirelli calendar model, who just last month after a hard-fought legal battle was awarded a £75m divorce settlement from her ex-husband Sheikh Walid Juffali, a Saudi billionaire, in a “needs” based case. She had initially sought £196.5m. This is the highest needs-based award ever granted in England and Wales.

The payment was ordered to have been made by Friday 29th July, however Dr Juffali died from terminal cancer just 9 days before, after having “sold” his assets to his daughters in accordance with Islamic law. An application has apparently been made to set aside this contract. It is understood that Ms Estrada is also going to focus on Dr Juffali’s London assets in payment of her settlement.

The marriage ended in 2012 when Dr Juffali married a Lebanese television presenter 32 years younger than him, with whom he had children, whilst still married to Ms Estrada. This is permitted under Islamic law.

Ms Estrada drew attention for her assessment of her “needs” which included £55m for a new London home, £1.02m a year for clothing, £40,000 for fur coats, £116,000 a year for handbags and £46,000 a year for Wimbledon and Ascot tickets. Her annual demands totalled £6.5m per year. She stated, “I am a top, international model. I have lived this life. This is what I am accustomed to” and the court granted her £2.5m including £500,000 for clothes.

High-value divorce cases tend to draw a lot of attention, often due to the personalities involved and the interest in the rich and famous’ needs; for example the divorce of Paul McCartney and Heather Mills which made the headlines regularly back in 2008 when Mr Justice Bennett criticised Ms Mills’ “wholly exaggerated” claim of £125m from a four year marriage. She was ultimately awarded £24.3m.

It is important to seek legal advice when faced with a divorce to ensure that you are protected when it comes to financial settlement. Griffin Law’s legal advisors will be happy to discuss your matter with you, just contact via email or by phone 01732 525923.

Article by Laura Ware, Solicitor, Griffin Law