The contentious parting of Ferruccio Ferragamo, the chairman of the iconic luxury footwear and fashion house Salvatore Ferragamo and Ilaria Giusti , his wife, is now set to become even more difficult.  Mr Ferragamo filed for a legal separation in Italy, which is the obligatory pre-cursor to divorce proceedings in Italy, and immediately filed for divorce the following day.  However, Ms Giusti also filed for divorce in London in an attempt to manipulate the divorce proceedings to London.  The question of jurisdiction was brought before Mr. Justice Francis in the High Court in November last year who took a dim view of Ms. Giusti's, attempts to bring her divorce to the English courts, calling her action an 'unprincipled manoeuvre' and ruled that Ms. Giustis's matter must be stayed as proceedings had started in Italy.  He further commented that the attempt to change jurisdiction when she had benefitted from several generous financial orders, plus a house in Italy, which made substantial provision for her housing and income needs was her attempt "to have her cake and eat it."  The matter has been returned to the Appeal Court in the hope that the original decision on jurisdiction will be overturned.  A decision will be forthcoming in due course.

Giambrone's Italian divorce lawyers confirm that under Italian law that legal separation proceedings must be completed before a divorce can begin therefore the English petition must be stayed and Italian divorce proceedings must be allowed to carry on.  The separation proceedings in Italy are very different from those in the English courts and serve a different purpose; such proceedings can take two years or longer if there is an appeal.  The actual divorce proceedings can take less time since the changes to the law in 2015.

There is much at stake as Mr. Ferragamo is estimated to be worth several billion euros and still retains a 70 per cent interest in highly successful luxury fashion empire, which reported a profit of €737 million in 2018. 

The London divorce courts offer the best financial settlements for divorcing women as there is a bias in favour of the financially weaker party, which is generally the woman, this is often more so in the case of the super-rich.  Ms. Giusti has employed a very debatable approach by relocating to the UK as the couple lived their entire married lives in Italy in the most luxurious of properties living a very privileged lifestyle.  Ms. Guisti has, as previously mentioned, generous financial arrangement and a house in Italy.  The semi-detached property Ms. Giusti bought in the UK is extremely modest by comparison, which indicative of the purchase being part of the tactics to ensure that financial arrangements can be dealt with by the London courts rather than Ms. Giusti's actual desire to live in the UK.  She has placed obstacles in the path of her husband wherever possible in his attempt to bring about a parting of the ways.

Whilst there is nothing wrong in attempting to obtain the best financial settlement following a divorce the courts will look far more favourably and generously on a person who is truthful and transparent than a person who appears to be following a cynical strategy to extract every last penny from their former spouse regardless of the fact that their needs are very well catered for.

For more information about cross-border divorce and how to get a fair financial settlement please click here

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.