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$278,000-a-month maintenance claimed by ex-wife!

16:00 AEST Thu Jun 10 2010

One of the most expensive divorce cases in Australian history is being contested in Adelaide, The Australian reports.

The Family Court has rejected a woman’s bid to claim $278,000 a month in spousal maintenance for herself and her autistic son.

The woman, who cannot be named, applied for the money before a final settlement from her Hong Kong-based ex-husband, who is thought to be worth between $77 million and $110 million.

She also tried to claim a $24 million property settlement, including a $3.3 million chalet in Switzerland, as well as $1.2 million per year to pay for her son’s care.

The woman has already spent $16 million from the pool of marital assets, which she claims has been used on legal fees and living expenses.

She claimed their 14-year old son requires the support of four full-time carers to deal with his autism, three of whom are her siblings who are being paid $110,000 a year.

The ex-husband’s lawyers are contesting that claim, as the court heard that the boy had become “very much the little prince” in his home.

A child psychologist told the court that the care of the son has become a “cottage industry” for the wife’s family and that they have made a career out of their involvement with “the little prince phenomenon.”

The father has been fighting in court since 2007 to see his son but the wife has failed to deliver the teen to meetings set up by the court, claiming that he gets anxious when told he must see his father.

The father, whose declared income is $300,000 a week, remarried in 2008 and now lives with his new wife in Hong Kong.

He proposed paying $10,788 a week, or $560,000 a year, to pay for his son’s care and education.

He also recently placed $691,000 into a trust fund for his son.

The ex-wife attempted to justify her claims with a statement of recent expenses, including $4624 spent on balloons and flowers for her son’s 14th birthday party and $125,000 a month in legal fees.

Her own weekly expenses were listed at $6524 a week, including $2300 for holidays and $800 for clothes.

The court has granted the ex-wife $375,000 in a lump sum payment to last her until the full hearing later this year.

The couple, from Adelaide, met in the late 1980s and married in 1994.

This latest hearing was the 29th in the case so far.

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