London is known for its grey skies, but for divorcing spouses around the world, it is seen as the end of a rainbow. That’s because thanks to its very generous awards settlements, thousands of wealthy couples from China, Russia, Europe and even the United States, now end their marriages before an English judge.
"England has become very attractive for wives, in particular because awards here are considerably higher than almost anywhere in the world," said Sandra Davis,head of the family law department at Mishcon de Reya.
"By the same count, it's a jurisdiction that the wealth creator generally wants to avoid," added Davis, who represented Diana, Princess of Wales in her divorce from Prince Charles and U.S. model Jerry Hall in her split from Rolling Stones singer MickJagger.
The flavor of the month divorce in the U.K. papers is that between businessman Khoo Kay Peng —reputedly worth at least $640 million — and Pauline Chai, the former Miss Malaysia whose massive shoe collection and £22,000 monthly budget for a Rolls Royce plus chauffeur has made headlines. For our purposes, the most interesting part of this is that Peng tried to have the divorce proceedings moved to Malaysia, but a judge at London's High Court decided to keep the trial in the city.
"I am pleased the judge recognized my connection with this great country," Chai said in a statement afterwards. "I am so pleased that I, my children and indeed my shoes have found a home here.”