Family Violence & Abuse Spousal Support & Alimony

Dubai Ruler’s Ex-Wife Gets CDN$931 Million in Divorce – With CDN$19 Million a Year for Security Services Alone

princess haya
Written by Russell Alexander / (905) 655-6335

Dubai Ruler’s Ex-Wife Gets CDN$931 Million in Divorce – With CDN$19 Million a Year for Security Services Alone

According to various news sources, a British court has ruled in one of the most high-value divorces in that country’s history.

It involves Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who is the current ruler of Dubai and the Vice-President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).  As part of the divorce settlement with his sixth wife, Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein (who is a U.K. resident and the daughter of the late King Hussein of Jordan) the court has ordered the Sheikh to pay her up to CDN$931 million.  This is designed to cover spousal support for her, as well as ongoing child support payments for two of their children, now aged 14 and 9.   The children’s ultimate entitlement will vary according to several factors, including how long they live, and whether they reconcile with their father from whom they are currently estranged.

Although the dollar-figures for this divorce are obviously off-the-charts, what’s noteworthy is that the CDN$931 million settlement total includes many pricey or exceptional expenses:  For example it incorporates an annual holiday budget of CDN$8.75 million, another CDN$770,000 a year for the children’s staff, and about CDN$470,000 a year for their animals, which include two ponies and a horse.

Interestingly, it also includes CDN$19 million a year to cover the annual security costs for Princess Haya, and for the children while they are minors. The British court commented that the family needed “water-tight security”; however it noted the main threat to their safety came not from outsides sources, but rather from Sheikh Mohammed himself, who has been accused of hacking into Princess Haya’s phones and writing her a threatening poem, among other things.  An earlier court had found that he had “ordered and orchestrated” the abduction and forced return to Dubai of two of their now-adult daughters; Princess Haya also testified that she was “terrified” of her husband.

Although this staggeringly-large divorce ruling comes out of the U.K. courts, it illustrates a principle that is equally germane to divorces between affluent Canadian couples:  The court’s assessment of the support entitlement of a recipient spouse and his or her children will take into account numerous factors, a key one being the pre- and post-separation needs of the family, together with the paying spouse’s ability to fund them. Even for those with extraordinary or uniquely-privileged lifestyles, the court will strive to take a full and balanced account of all these aspects, before arriving at the monetary support amounts that are aimed at reasonably securing the financial future of the recipient spouse and children.

In a future Blog, we will take a closer look as some home-grown illustrations of this concept, by examining how Canadian divorce courts assess the pre- and post-separation lifestyle needs of affluent couples, and how they determine the corresponding financial support that is required in each unique circumstance.

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About the author

Russell Alexander

Russell Alexander is the Founder & Senior Partner of Russell Alexander Collaborative Family Lawyers.