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Beauty Queen awarded £3.3m in ‘bruising’ divorce case

A beauty queen has been awarded a £3.3m settlement in a divorce case described as “bruising and unedifying” by a leading judge in the High Court.

The case involved Russian beauty queen Ekaterina Parfenova and her former husband Richard Fields, an American lawyer. The couple met in 2001 and have two children. They have lived in central London since 2011.

The judge hearing the case, Mr Justice Holman, said the couple had spent “eye-watering” amounts of money on their luxury lifestyle when they were together but then wasted up to £1m in court fees by refusing to settle their divorce case amicably.

Ms Parfenova was awarded a lump sum of £1.2m and more than £300,000 a year in maintenance. She also got a share of the couple’s joint investments. Mr Fields was left with £2.6m.

Mr Justice Holman told the couple that they could both have had kept more of their assets if they had heeded his advice and settled earlier. He added:  “I've striven to reach an outcome which is fair to both of you. There are no winners and no losers.”

Addressing Ms Parfenova directly he said:  “You've not got as much as you wanted and he's having to pay more than he wished to pay.

“What I sincerely hope is that each of you take away the lesson of this bruising experience. It was a boxing match. It wasn't edifying.”

Mr Justice Holman added that his main concern had been to ensure that the couple’s children were properly provided for in the award. They will continue to live with their mother in London.

Family lawyers say the case highlights the need for couples to behave reasonably during divorce proceedings and try to reach an amicable settlement that is fair to both of them.

When disagreements do arise, mediation can often help to resolve differences without the need for costly and stressful court proceedings.

Please contact us if you would like more information about mediation or any aspect of family law.