HK$2m per month for ex-wife too much
A court yesterday cleared the way for a husband to contest a HK$2 million-a-month claim for maintenance and legal fees by his wife, but said she should continue to enjoy the extravagant lifestyle they shared as a couple.
The Court of Appeal agreed with the man that the amount was too high, saying the woman had exaggerated her monthly expenses.
'The fact remains that the husband controls the various companies, and the lifestyle is, I am quite sure, designed to his own desires,' said Mr Justice Michael Hartmann delivering his final judgment.
The wife listed a HK$156 million private jet, two yachts, exotic vacations and a penchant for fine dining as examples of their extravagance.
'The wife's claim for interim maintenance must be judged according to the very high level of daily living that was enjoyed by the couple before they separated, and which it appears the husband continues to enjoy,' the judge said.
He recommended that the husband pay HK$800,000 in monthly maintenance fees and HK$500,000 in legal fees until their divorce proceedings are complete. The wife had 'either lost or no longer has access to much of her capital base', and had participated in the family business until the divorce proceedings started.
The judge said it would be in the 'best interests of both parties' if the husband made a one-off minimum payment of HK$75 million to his wife within 14 days. This would be subtracted from the total amount he would be obliged to pay once the divorce proceedings are complete.
The HK$75 million is what the court deemed was needed for the wife not only to 'maintain herself on a day-to-day basis and to meet her legal bills' until the end of the court proceedings, but to 'begin to order her life again in a manner she chooses, for example to purchase a new motor vehicle or to rejuvenate her investment businesses'.
In the original filing, the wife claimed almost HK$2.6 million a month in maintenance and legal fees, including money to be spent by their son and daughter during 10 annual vacations, HK$530,000 a month for travel, and HK$600,000 to entertain friends and business associates. The judge then ruled the husband should either pay the HK$2 million or a lump sum of HK$36 million.
The husband filed for divorce in September 2009 and the wife filed a cross-petition when it came out during the proceedings that he had fathered two children in Vietnam.