Man who refused to pay ex £45m so kids ‘learn value of money’ forced to hand over £37m

The former wife of a billionaire property tycoon, who refused to pay her the £45 million she said she was entitled to, has been ordered to give her £37 million.

Michael Fuchs previously argued that their children needed to “learn the value of money”, which wouldn’t happen if he paid Alvina Collardeau-Fuchs, 47, such a large sum.

At a preliminary hearing at the Family Division of the High Court in London in the summer, he said “smothering them in luxuries makes them jaded”.

He also said his wife – a former journalist from France – was claiming £45 million out of “greed, not need”.

Representing Fuchs, Patrick Chamberlayne KC said Collardeau-Fuchs was entitled to £30 million instead of the fee she is asking for.

However Mr Justice Mostyn published a ruling yesterday (Monday) that ordered Mr Fuchs to pay his estranged wife £37 million.

Mr Fuchs, originally from Germany and Ms Collardeau-Fuchs married in New York in 2012, shared a home in London and separated in 2020, the judge heard.

They have two children together.

At the preliminary hearing the judge was told that Mr Fuchs was a billionaire.

At an October hearing, meanwhile, Mr Fuchs, who, according to financial news agency Bloomberg owns the Chrysler Building in New York, said 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.

In his ruling the judge made clear 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.

The judge said Mr Fuchs must 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.

Mr Chamberlayne had said Ms Collardeau-Fuchs wanted about £1.2 million a year provision for their children. Mr Fuchs said the figure should be about £350,000 a year.

Nicholas Cusworth KC, who led Ms Collardeau-Fuchs’ legal team, said she had given up her own career at Mr Fuch’s “instigation”.

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.

“The parties certainly lived a billionaire lifestyle during their marriage,” said Mr Justice Mostyn, in his ruling.

“The nature of the parties’ relationship was such that money (and particularly the detail of family expenditure) was never a concern.”

He said they had run “fully staffed homes” and lived in fashionable places such as the Hamptons, New York city, Paris, Miami, Cap d’Antibes, Capri and Notting Hill.

He went on: “The parties had a retinue of staff at the family home.

“They formally employed two rota chefs, a house manager, two or three housekeepers, a laundress and two full-time nannies, in addition to a multitude of contractors (gardeners, pool maintainers, builders, plumbers, electricians and handymen).”

He said the family’s “custom of unrestrained expenditure” had been “practised in the litigation”.

The judge said “prodigious amounts” of legal costs had been incurred and figures showed combined lawyers’ bills of more than £4.3 million.

Previously, Collardeau-Fuchs, who is reported to have worked for the likes of NBC, CBS, CNN and French Vogue, had suggested she needed £21,000 for sport activities and a further £18,000 on theatre trips with friends.

Other parts of the suggested budget allow for £86,000 for parties, £48,000 on clubs and activities and £20,000 in gifts for school staff.