While not knowing the size of the “Warne estate,” Simone Warne should get at least half of Shane’s money, or, to be politically correct, maybe I should say “their money.”

A ten-year marriage isn’t particularly long, but there are three kids under ten.

The standard marriage of three young kids, mum at home and dad at work with a mortgage and some super would give mum somewhere between 60% to 75% of the total asset pool. Warnie (and his wife) are worth an estimated $5-$10 million so half the estate should be enough to keep Simone and the kids living in a manner which is acceptable. Maybe not a manner that they are accustomed to, but most families suffer a drop in living standards when they split, even rich ones.

Although Shane is in England, if the matter went to court it would be heard in Australia. Both mum and dad are Australian citizens and their property is primarily in Australia. Shane would do better if he issued in the UK (the Brits don’t treat the wives of rich men as well as we do) but if he did, a British court would more than likely transfer the matter to the Australian Family Court as soon as Simone had made the proper application (which is a no brainer).

My advice to Simone is to move back into the family’s Brighton mansion and take the “for sale” sign down. She will do much better in any negotiations if she is sitting on the main asset. No judge would kick her and the kids out of the home until proper arrangements had been made for their welfare. If Shane wants to settle things quickly, he will let her keep the house which would be great for Simone as it is always more expensive to set up a new home than stay in your old one (stamp duty is a killer for the wealthy in Victoria).

Simone can negotiate a lump sum spousal maintenance payment as part of the deal or seek to have Shane make on-going regular payments. This will be a dilemma for Simone (and her legal team). Does she take the money and be done with it or bank on Shane continuing to make mega bucks and make the payments? Does he have a lucrative career as a cricket commentator when he retires? And is he likely to re-marry? Shane can always seek to reduce the payments if his circumstances change.

Simone will also want to negotiate child support which is over and above the Child Support Agency’s assessment. This is because the Agency will make an assessment based on its deemed maximum annual wage of around $200,000. Shane earns a lot more than this. Child support payments often become a continuing saga for mums as it is easy for self employed dads to disguise their earnings (just set up a company). One would imagine, however, that Simone will have no difficulty obtaining Shane’s agreement to pay for their children to attend one of Melbourne’s best private schools.

Finally, it’s worth remembering that since 1975 we have had no-fault divorce, so Shane’s serial philandering is not relevant to any property negotiations or court hearing, no matter how relevant it may be to Simone.

Peter Fray

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