Russia - England High Profile Divorce Case

Posted by Jeremy Morley | Mar 31, 2011 | 0 Comments

The hot-off-the-press decision of the English Court of Appeal in a Russia-English divorce case is most interesting. Stay tuned for analysis. Meanwhile today's Daily Mail article, below, must suffice.

£2.85m in London court after ex-husband loses his bid to have divorce settled in Russia

By Daily Mail Reporter 31st March 2011

A Russian wife accused of taking advantage of the English courts to secure a big money divorce has been handed a £2.85million payout after an 18-month marriage, amid claims the decision could 'open the floodgates' for so-called divorce tourists.

Fashion student Elena Golubovich, 27, and international financier Ilva Golubovich, 26, married in August 2007, and lived together at their £4m London home until they split in July 2009.

The couple, who are both the children of rich Russian families, spent money 'at a prodigious rate, providing themselves with an indulgent standard of living', according to a judge.

Some £2million went during the months of their whirlwind marriage, in which they had one daughter, now aged two, and the pair earned nothing in the UK at all.

In early 2009, the breakdown of the marriage saw Mr Golubovich head to the Russian Courts, while Mrs Golubovich attempted to bring proceedings in the UK, as differences in the law meant she stood to get a bigger payout here.

She succeeded in having the Russian divorce invalidated by a High Court judge in the UK, only to have that decision overturned by the Appeal Court last July.

Despite that ruling, Mrs Golubovich still had a claim to a share of Mr Golubovich's UK assets under the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act.

And, in August last year, Mr Justice Moylan sitting in the Family Division of London's High Court, ordered Mr Golubovich to pay his ex-wife £2.835million, to meet a lump sum and her legal costs.

That decision was immediately challenged, with Justine Johnston, for the husband, arguing that the award was out of proportion to the length of the marriage.

She said almost all of his wealth came from his parents and could not be counted as assets of the marriage - and also that the case had no place being dealt with in the English courts.

Now Lord Justice Thorpe, Lord Justice Etherton and Mrs Justice Baron, sitting at London's Appeal Court, have upheld the Family Court award, despite warnings from Miss Johnston that doing so would 'open the floodgates' and 'inundate' the British courts with divorce tourists.

The court heard that the couple lived all their married life in the UK using the husband's mother's luxury flat in Kensington. Mrs Golubovich, 27, also owned a £600,000 flat in nearby Cornwall Gardens.

Their links to Russia were such that the Appeal Court found that the Russian divorce ought to be allowed to stand, but their life in London was enough to allow the wife to make a claim on her ex-husband's British assets in the family court, Lord Justice Thorpe ruled today.

Miss Johnston, whose client is currently 'exiled' from the UK by an order for his committal to prison made after he failed to pay out the sums ordered by the courts to his ex-wife, argued that the Family Court judge ought not to have given the wife a penny.

About the Author

Jeremy Morley

Jeremy D. Morley was admitted to the New York Bar in 1975 and concentrates on international family law. His firm works with clients around the world from its New York office, with a global network of local counsel. Mr. Morley is the author of "International Family Law Practice,...


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