The estranged wife of the German-born billionaire owner of New York’s world-famous Chrysler Building has been awarded more than £37million under the terms of their prenuptial agreements after their marriage broke down, a judge in London’s High Court has today ruled.
Michael Fuchs, 62, and French ex-journalist Alvina Collardeau-Fuchs, 47, have been battling in the British courts over how much money the property tycoon should pay his spouse.
Lawyers for Mr. Fuchs said the figure was £30million and Ms. Collardeau-Fuchs said it was more than £45million.
A private hearing at the Family Division of the High Court last month was told that Ms. Collardeau-Fuchs wanted about £1.2million a year provision for children while Mr Fuchs suggested £350,000 a year.
But in the ruling published on Monday November 14, Mr. Justice Mostyn said the former journalist is entitled to more than £37million.
The judge refused her demands for their children, ruling that Mr. Fuchs would pay children’s school fees and extras on the school bills; the cost of the children’s nannies – capped at £100,000 a year; and periodical payments for the benefit of each child.
The couple married in New York in 2012, shared a home in London, and separated in 2020, the judge heard.
The judge was told at a preliminary hearing during the summer that Mr. Fuchs, who moved to the US in the 1990s, was the billionaire owner of the Chrysler Building, according to financial news agency Bloomberg.
Mr. Fuchs told the judge in October that the ‘value of his fortune had plummeted recently due to the turbulent economic climate’.
The judge heard that Mr. Fuchs had enjoyed an ‘extraordinarily successful career’ and owned a ‘very significant amount of prime mid-town Manhattan real estate’ before marrying Ms Collardeau-Fuchs.
The judge had to consider a forgery allegation made against Mr. Fuchs by Ms. Collardeau-Fuchs.
She alleged that her signature had been forged on a mortgage document. Mr Fuchs disputed the allegation.
The judge made it clear, in his ruling, that he had not made ‘any positive findings of falsification’ against Mr. Fuchs.
Mr. Justice Mostyn heard evidence in private but said proceedings could be reported and the estranged couple named in media reports of the case. He said their children could not be named.
Mr. Chamberlayne told the judge that Ms Collardeau-Fuchs’ budget was ‘evidence of greed, not need’.
Nicholas Cusworth KC, who led Ms. Collardeau-Fuchs’ legal team, said she had ‘ceased independent work’ at Mr. Fuchs’ instigation when their relationship ‘gathered pace’.
Mr. Cusworth told the judge that Mr. Fuchs accepted that he was rarely at home during the week and that Ms. Collardeau-Fuchs deserved credit for having given up her career and invested in the care of the children.
Mr. Fuchs had told Mr. Justice Mostyn how he believed smothering children in luxuries made them ‘jaded’ and added: ‘I want them to learn the value of money.’