Friday, 24 February 2012

Divorce feared for Google billionaire

According to the New York Post, Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt is said to be putting his financial affairs in order in an effort to release money to fund his divorce from his wife of 13 years. If this is true, the couple’s divorce is likely to see one of the highest value divorce settlements in history.

It is widely reported that Schmidt is the 136th richest man in the world. If Mr Schmidt were divorcing in England or Wales, he would be advised that the first step to be taken would be to quantify the value of the assets which make up the matrimonial pot. The matrimonial pot comprises all capital assets held by either Mr or Mrs Schmidt or owned by them jointly. It also can include other assets in which they have an interest such as trusts. Valuations for all property, investments, pensions and chattels would need to be obtained and values agreed.

In this particular case, careful consideration will also need to be given to liquidity. Despite stepping down as chief executive and chairman of Google last April, it is thought that Mr Schmidt still owns considerable shares in the company. If the bulk of his fortune is tied up in investments, he may have to sell and liquidate assets in order to meet his wife’s financial claims.

The court’s approach to the division of assets on divorce is discretionary and there is no fixed formula which sets out what each party should receive. It is important therefore to seek divorce advice from a specialist Family Law solicitor as the earliest opportunity, regardless of the value of your assets.

For more divorce advice follow our family law blog or follow us on Twitter@Divorce_experts.

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