Divorce can be costly, not only financially but emotionally too. For most people there doesn’t seem too much of a need to put a pre-nuptial agreement in place, as many of us do not want to think about the chances of splitting up just as we are getting married, but if you are wealthy, maybe a pre-nuptial agreement is something you should consider.

We hear many examples of celebrities who have not entered in these types of agreements before marriage, who then regret it when the divorce papers are served. John Cleese has spent £15 million in his three divorce settlements throughout the years and this, no doubt, has had some bearing on the pre-nuptial agreement he signed with his fourth wife.

John Cleese’s divorce settlements are enough to make your eyes water at the thought, but compared to the top five largest pay outs, it pales into insignificance.

Five Most Costly Divorces

Emptying the vault
Empty Bank Vault photo by Jason Baker

  • Five – $750 million for Steve and Elaine Wynn: Steve and Elaine Wynn come in at number five. Steve Wynn owned a casino and hotel called Wynn Resorts and he had to pay out half of his share in the business to Elaine.
  • Four – $874 million for Adnan and Soraya Khashoggi: Adnan Khashoggi filed for divorce from his wife Soraya in 1974. His wealth was amassed from the sales of arms and from business deals and Soraya fought for over 5 years to win her astonishing settlement of $874 million, in cash! Although they have moved down the charts to number four, the Khashoggi’s held the record for the most costly divorce for the next 20 years.
  • Three – $1.2 billion for Bernie and Slavica Ecclestone: This well-known Formula 1 CEO comes into number three following his divorce from Slavica back in 2009. He had to settle for paying model Slavica $1.2 billion.
  • Two – $1.7 billion for Rupert and Anna Murdoch: Another well-known figure in the UK, Rupert Murdoch split from wife Anna in 1999 in a settlement which cost him $1.7 million. This obviously didn’t put him of, as he married his third wife less than three weeks later. He is now in the process of divorcing her.
  • One – $3.8 billion for Alec and Jocelyn Wildenstein: straight in at number one with a whopping divorce settlement of just over three and a half billion dollars. Joceyln, who started proceedings against her husband Alec, settled at $2.5 million and then also bagged a yearly payment of $100 million a year, for thirteen years.

Whilst these figures are frankly mind boggling, the financial impact of divorce can be damaging for both parties.

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