How Expensive Can a Divorce Get?

Aug 8, 2012 by

A Saudi prince is about to join the exclusive ranks of people with the most expensive divorce cases in history. Saudi Arabian royal family member Sheik Mohammed Al Fassi was held liable for $81 million in a 1983 divorce judgment awarded to then wife, Sheikha Dena Al Fassi (now known as Diana Bilinelli). The $81 million settlement may be a staggering amount, but it is not nearly enough to propel one into the ranks of the top five most expensive divorces of all time.

Sheik Al Fassi’s divorce will make it into the top five because he hasn’t made the payments on the judgment, which has now quadrupled to a whopping $350 million through accrued interest. Ex-wife Sheikha Diana Bilinelli, filed suit to collect the money in Los Angeles Superior Court back in 2002, when the famous celebrity divorce attorney Marvin Mitchelson (deceased 2004) was still her representative. If the sheikha can collect on the $350 million debt, it will move the Al Fassi divorce into the number four spot of all-time most expensive divorces, just edging out Irina Abramovich’s $300 million divorce settlement from Russia’s richest man, Roman Abramovich in 2007.

Bilinelli assigned her rights to the debt to a trust in 2003 after she received telephoned death threats for her efforts to collect the judgment. Lawyers representing the trust in Los Angeles have said they expect to collect the judgment this year. Bilinelli, now living back in her native Italy, married the Sheik in a Los Angeles court six months after meeting him in London during 1975. Longtime Los Angeles residents may best remember the Sheik for his Sunset Boulevard home with grounds that featured multiple life-size marble statues decorated with painted-on genitalia and pubic hair. The house burned down in an arson fire in 1980.

Top Five Most Expensive Divorces in History (So Far)

1. The dubious honor of the most expensive divorce in history goes to Rupert Murdoch and his wife Anna Murdoch with a divorce settlement of $1.7 billion in 1999.

2. Adnan Khashoggi’s divorce from Soraya Khashoggi was estimated to cost $874 million.

3. Craig McCaw’s divorce from wife Wendy McCaw cost a cool $460 million.

4. Irina Abramovich’s divorce from Roman Abramovich generated an out-of-court settlement of $300 million.

5. Neil Diamond’s divorce from spouse Marcia Murphey cost him $150 million.

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