Though divorce amongst billionaires is something many of us in South Carolina will never have to worry about, their cases do shed light on problems faced by ordinary couples. Though the number of zeros is much greater, even normal people have to cope with handing over large percentages of their assets to an ex-spouse, especially when there is no pre or post nuptial agreement in place.
One good example of the trouble faced when a couple lacks a prenuptial agreement is the pending divorce of pharmaceutical billionaire Stewart Rahr. He and his wife, Carol, had been married for 43 years when Mr. Rahr decided he wanted out of the stale marriage while he was still young enough to enjoy life.
Mr. Rahr is currently worth $1.6 billion after the recent sale of his pharmaceutical company, KinRay. Observers are waiting to see if he will remain on the Forbes billionaire list after the divorce is finalized, something that has knocked several names off the list in recent years. Both Joseph Craft, a coal magnate, and Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeff Luri fell off the list last year due to the costs of divorce. Mr. Rahr could stand to lose as much as 37.5% of his net worth and remain on the list, though there’s no guarantee Carol won’t snag even more than that. The following are some cautionary tales that Rahr (and normal South Carolinians) should keep in mind regarding the costs of not having a prenuptial agreement.
Roman and Irina Abramovich got married in 1981 and divorced in 2007. Roman made a great deal of money from his steel business and had to hand Irina $300 million when they split. Though this may sound like a lot, it only came out to 1.6% of his nearly $19 billion net worth, meaning Roman got off relatively easy.
Proving that the trouble effects women as well as men, just this past year China’s richest woman went through one very expensive divorce. A powerful property developer, Wu Yajun divorced her husband, Cai Kui, in November. The split meant giving Cai 30% of her assets, almost $3 billion, and was enough of a financial hit to have Wu lose her title as the wealthiest woman in China.
Gambling has been good to Steve Wynn, though not when it came to the big bet he made on staying married. The couple split in 2010 and Steve had to hand over nearly $740 million in stock to his ex-wife Elaine. At the time, Steve was worth $1.6 billion, meaning the divorce cost him 46% of his fortune.
Source: “Will Divorce Knock Stewart Rahr Off Billionaires List?,” by Caleb Melby, published at Forbes.com.
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