8 of the Most Expensive Divorces in US History

8 of the Most Expensive Divorces in US History


Florida is known for its beautiful weather, its laid-back lifestyle, and its high cost of living. And when it comes to divorce, Florida is also one of the most expensive states in the country. The cost of a divorce can vary widely depending on many factors.

At the same time, our country has seen its fair share of high-profile divorces, many of which have resulted in record-breaking settlements. From CEOs to professional athletes, wealthy couples in Florida–and throughout the nation–have often found themselves in the spotlight during their divorce proceedings.

Robert Sparks Attorneys Can Guide You Through a Florida Divorce

Divorce can be a costly and emotionally draining process, and in Florida, the expenses can add up quickly. At Robert Sparks Attorneys, our team of experienced and dedicated Florida divorce attorneys can help guide you through this incredibly difficult time. If you are in the process of getting a divorce and would like to explore your legal options, contact us today for a free consultation.

The Factors that Contribute to the High Cost of a Divorce

It’s essential to note that not all divorces are expensive. After all, the factors that contribute to the high cost of divorce vary depending on the marriage.  Moreover, some couples may be able to complete the divorce process without the need for a lawyer or mediation, which can greatly reduce the overall cost. However, understanding the factors that contribute to the high cost of a divorce can help individuals make informed decisions about their divorce process and prepare for the expenses involved:

  • Complexity of the divorce –  If a divorce involves complex issues such as significant assets, child custody disputes, or high-conflict situations, it may require more time, effort, and resources to resolve, which can increase the cost.
  • Attorney fees –  Hiring a divorce lawyer in Florida can be expensive, and the hourly rates charged by attorneys can vary greatly. If both parties hire lawyers, the cost of the divorce can quickly add up.
  • Court fees –  In Florida, there are several court filing fees associated with divorce, including filing fees, service fees, and mediation fees.
  • Mandatory waiting period – In Florida, there is a mandatory waiting period of 20 days after filing for divorce before it can be finalized. This can delay the divorce process and increase costs.
  • Mediation and other alternative dispute resolution methods –  Florida law requires mediation for all contested family law matters, including divorce. This can add additional costs to the divorce process.
  • Expert fees –  If expert witnesses or consultants are needed for issues such as property valuation, child custody evaluations, or financial analysis, their fees can add to the overall cost of the divorce.


While most divorces will include some of these factors, not every divorce is equal. In fact, when certain factors are in place, such as immense wealth and business interests, a divorce can go from being routine to extremely expensive.

A Closer Look At Some Of the Most Expensive Divorces 

Divorce settlements, under most circumstances, are kept private after the signing of the settlement agreement. However, given the high number of wealthy public figures throughout the country, details of divorce settlements are sometimes deemed newsworthy. Here is a breakdown of some of the most expensive divorces on record:

Jeff Bezos and MacKenzie Scott 

The world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos, and his wife of 25 years, MacKenzie Scott, announced their divorce in January 2019. As part of their settlement, Scott received 25% of the couple’s Amazon stock, worth approximately $36 billion at the time, making her one of the richest women in the world.

Alec Wildenstein and Jocelyn Wildenstein

In what is considered one of the most expensive divorce settlements of all time, art dealer Alec Wildenstein paid his ex-wife Jocelyn Wildenstein $2.5 billion in cash and assets, plus an additional $100 million per year for 13 years, totaling $3.8 billion. The couple divorced in 1999 after 21 years of marriage.

Rupert Murdoch and Anna Murdoch 

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch and his wife Anna Murdoch divorced in 1999 after 32 years of marriage. Anna received a settlement of $1.7 billion in cash and assets, including a reported $110 million in cash.

Steve and Elaine Wynn

Casino mogul Steve Wynn and his wife Elaine Wynn divorced twice, first in 1986 and then again in 2010. As part of their second divorce settlement, Elaine received approximately $1 billion in cash and assets, including artwork valued at $70 million.

While divorce settlements of this magnitude are rare, they illustrate the potential financial impact of divorce on high-net-worth individuals and their families.

Harold Hamm and Sue Ann Arnall 

Harold Hamm, the CEO of Continental Resources, and his ex-wife, Sue Ann Arnall, had a high-profile divorce in 2015. Arnall received a settlement of $975 million, making it one of the most expensive divorces in U.S. history.

Bob and Michelle Duggan 

Bob Duggan, the founder of the pharmaceutical company Pharmacyclics, and his ex-wife, Michelle Duggan, had a divorce settlement worth $110 million in 2017.

Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren 

Professional golfer Tiger Woods and his ex-wife, Elin Nordegren, had a highly publicized divorce in 2010. The settlement was reportedly worth $100 million.

Don and Erika Wallace 

Don and Erika Wallace, a wealthy couple from Tampa, had a contentious divorce that was settled in 2016. Erika received a settlement of $100 million, which included properties, cash, and other assets.

Protect Yourself With Experienced Florida Divorce Attorneys

The process of a divorce can be emotionally and financially draining. Whether you have significant assets or simply want to make a change, Robert Sparks Attorneys can help. Our team of experienced and knowledgeable Florida divorce attorneys can help protect your interests and help you navigate the challenges that come up in a divorce. To get started, contact us today for a free consultation.