Natalia Potanina is said to be lining up proceedings in the English Court should an appeal in the Russian Court not provide her with a suitable chunk of her husband, Vladimir Potanin’s wealth. Ms Potanina will have an opportunity to apply for leave to bring proceedings in England if she has been habitually resident here for a year when she makes her application.

The couple have been married for 30 years and have three children. Mr Potanin is listed in Forbes as the wealthiest man in Russia with an estimated fortune of around £10 Billion; however, he has been successful in the Russian Court in arguing that he has no assets. Of course that sits rather uncomfortably with the 2 yachts enjoyed by the family along with the Russian mansion and the generally ultra-lavish lifestyle. He has also reportedly made an offer of £32 million to settle financial claims arising from the divorce but, for a woman who feels that her contribution to the marriage over 30 years needs to be recognised, this small percentage does not begin to touch the sides.

If a suitable settlement is not reached in the Russian Court then, once the divorce has been finalised, Ms Potanina will be able to approach the court in England for consideration of her financial claims. England has gained its reputation as the divorce capital of the world because of the way that the Court considers the contributions of both parties. So, after a 30 year marriage where one would expect that Ms Potanina spent a considerable amount of time raising the children and looking after the home life of the couple, the starting point would be that she is entitled to 50% of the assets amassed by the parties during their relationship. Ms Potanina says that they met as poor students in communist Russia and so almost every penny of the supposed £10 billion fortune would be a product of the marriage.

It remains to be seen what the Russian Supreme Court makes of the case but one suspects that Ms Potanina’s exile to the divorce capital of the world is more than a coincidence.

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