Yachts are common assets among the super rich. Some are truly spectacular, achieving the status of “mega yacht” or even “hyper yacht.” Some even have their own detachable submarines, while helicopter landing pads are becoming more and more popular by the day. All that aside, it is clear that yachts can be a drain on the family’s resources. Repairs, mooring, and a wide range of other costs must all be taken into account. This is why dividing yachts during a divorce can be slightly tricky. 

Of course, most spouses will never have to worry about this problem. On the other hand, the division of something like a yacht can teach us a lot about how other, similar assets are divided in divorces among spouses with more modest estates. 

Rupert Murdoch and Jerry Hall

If you want an example of how the super rich settle divorces, you need look no further than the breakup of Jerry Hall and Rupert Murdoch. The settlement reflected their affluent lifestyle, and Hall will receive 10 million pounds per year just to cover the use of private jets and domestic staff. 

Options for Dividing the Yacht

Yachts are handled like any other form of property during a divorce. First of all, you need to figure out whether it is separate or marital property. If one spouse owned the boat before the marriage contract was signed or after the date of separation, they get to keep it. If the yacht was acquired during the marriage, it becomes eligible for equitable distribution. Depending on the state, it might also be considered community property. 

At this point, spouses have a number of options. They can either sell the yacht and divide the proceeds, or one spouse can “trade” an asset of equal value for complete ownership of the yacht. Finally, it may be possible to continue co-owning the yacht – although this is rarely viable. 

The most important thing to consider when dividing a yacht is the cost of upkeep. While billionaires might not need to worry about this, low millionaires may suddenly be confronted with much less disposable cash after a divorce. While maintaining a yacht may have been viable before the divorce, it could be financially ruinous after things like alimony and child support are taken into account – not to mention the division of other property. This means that for spouses who are concerned about financial security after a divorce, selling the yacht and splitting the proceeds is probably the best option. 

Other Examples of Notable Settlements

Yachts are not the only complex assets that may be divided during a divorce. When Princess Haya bint al-Hussein divorced Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, she was awarded 5 million pounds solely for racehorses. In addition, she secured almost 2 million pounds for a kitchen renovation, including the construction of a pizza oven. Art collections can also be complicated to divide, and when Farkhad Akhmedov divorced his wife Tatiana, they were faced with the undertaking of dividing a 90-million-pound art collection. It was the most expensive divorce in UK history.