'Most expensive divorce settlement in history' hits $4.5 billion

In what is being deemed the most expensive divorce settlement in history, a Russian billionaire has been ordered by a Swiss court to pay his ex-wife $4.5 billion. And no, that isn't a misprint: billion with a "B."

The Russian billionaire, named Dmitry Rybolovlev, received the whopping bill recently and will likely appeal the decision. It would seem likely that the $4.5 billion ruling in this case will be reduced considerably. Rybolovlev is worth roughly $8.8 billion according to Forbes. The settlement also included a ruling about the custody of the former couple's 13-year-old daughter, who will be under the custody of her mother.

Though this story takes place overseas, it still brings up a couple of noteworthy elements that Harrisburg and Pennsylvania residents can learn from.

The first is that you can appeal certain things that are determined in your divorce ruling or settlement. These appeals may be filed immediately -- or it could be years down the line after life circumstances have made the original ruling or settlement obsolete. These appeals can go a long way in assuring that one or both spouses can more realistically meet the expectations of the agreement.

The other critical aspect here is the prenuptial agreement. The source article doesn't mention anything about a prenuptial agreement, or the European equivalent of such a contract, involved in the Rybolovlev divorce. However, you can see the clear ramifications here of not having such a contract. The dollar figures involved here don't apply to almost anyone in this country -- but on a much smaller scale, the division of finances can greatly affect your everyday couple when they go through divorce. A prenup or postnuptial agreement can provide some significant protection to the spouses in this regard.

Source: Yahoo News, "Russian oligarch faces $4.5 billion Swiss divorce," John Heilprin, Associated Press, May 20, 2014

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