Chrysler Building billionaire to pay £3.5m a year until divorce decision

Real estate developer Michael Fuchs is embroiled in a divorce fight with former journalist Alvina Collardeau-Fuchs.

Chrysler Building billionaire Michael Fuchs to pay £3.5m a year until divorce decision iStock

A billionaire real estate developer embroiled in a divorce fight must pay out more than £3.5m a year until a judge decides how much money his estranged wife should walk away with.

Michael Fuchs, who comes from Germany but moved to the United States in the 1990s, and former journalist Alvina Collardeau-Fuchs, who comes from France, are fighting over money in a London court.

Mr Justice Mostyn, who is based in the Family Division of the High Court, on Monday made rulings about how much maintenance Ms Collardeau-Fuchs should get while the fight continues.

The judge said a final hearing was due to start on October 10.

He ruled that Mr Fuchs, 62, should pay Ms Collardeau-Fuchs, 46, around £70,000 a month maintenance – more than £800,000 a year.

Mr Fuchs had said he would also cover the cost of staff and other overheads – and the judge said those expenses totalled about £2.7m a year.

The judge said Mr Fuchs’ “overall liability” would be “an approximate annual rate of £3.64m”.

Ms Collardeau-Fuchs had wanted £130,000 a month maintenance – Mr Fuchs had offered £31,000 a month, the judge said.

The couple, who have two children, had married in New York in 2012 and separated about two years ago, the judge heard.

Mr Justice Mostyn was told that towards the end of the time together, they had “global annual living costs” of about £900,000.

He heard that Mr Fuchs had enjoyed an “extraordinarily successful career” and had owned a “very significant amount of prime Midtown Manhattan real estate” before marrying Ms Collardeau-Fuchs.

Mr Justice Mostyn said the couple had shared a home in London, where Ms Collardeau-Fuchs still lived.

He said the property had six floors, five bedrooms an indoor underground swimming pool and, historically, a retinue of staff had been employed, including two rota chefs, a house manager, two or three housekeepers, and a laundress.

Mr Fuchs had told the judge that the property was worth £30.2m and was subject to a mortgage of £21.5m.

The judge heard that there was also a villa in Antibes, France, and a penthouse in Miami, Florida.

He said the overheads were “enormous”.

Mr Justice Mostyn said the divorcing couple had already spent more than £900,000 on lawyers between them – Mr Fuchs more than £450,000 and Ms Collardeau-Fuchs more than £460,000.

He had ruled, at a recent preliminary hearing, that they could be named in media reports.

Nicholas Cusworth KC, who is leading Ms Collardeau-Fuchs’ legal team, said she had “ceased independent work” at Mr Fuchs’ instigation when their relationship “gathered pace”.

Mr Fuchs – who is the co-owner of New York’s Chrysler Building, according to financial and media agency Bloomberg – had accepted that he was rarely at home during the week and accepted Ms Collardeau-Fuchs deserved credit for having given up her career and investing in the care of the children, Mr Cusworth told the judge.

“The parties were able to live a billionaire lifestyle during their marriage,” said Mr Cusworth.

“They ran at least five fully-staffed homes in fashionable areas of the world, travelled extensively in the world’s top hotels and spent according to their means, which were unlimited.”

Mr Cusworth added: “It is (Ms Collardeau-Fuchs’) case that it would be wrong to implement the terms of the agreements in the way that (Mr Fuchs) proposes.”

He said Mr Fuchs had failed to “implement” what the agreements required during their marriage, and told the judge that Ms Collardeau-Fuchs would be unable to live as a post-nuptial agreement intended.

Mr Cusworth added: “(Mr Fuchs’) conduct has been egregiously bad leading up to separation, since separation prior to proceedings and throughout these proceedings.”

Mr Fuchs would continue to maintain the lifestyle the family had enjoyed, he said.

He told the judge that Ms Collardeau-Fuchs had noted Mr Fuchs travelled “prolifically” in private jets, stayed in the most exclusive hotels, and owned a fully staffed 60-metre superyacht.

Mr Cusworth said the judge would have to consider who retained which property, the division of “joint art”, and the division of jointly owned contents.

Mr Justice Mostyn heard that an art collection included three Picassos worth £8m.

Both Mr Fuchs, who has been married before, and Ms Collardeau-Fuchs were at the hearing.