The wife of British golfer Lee Westwood, Laurae Westwood, has filed for divorce. The papers were filed in Palm Beach County Court even though Westwood is a native of Great Britain. According to news reports, the divorce is expected to be contested both as to the alleged grounds – infidelity – and the amount of money involved.
The divorce was filed in Florida because the Westwoods lived in the state for five years before splitting up in 2015. Mrs. Westwood has apparently re-established her residence in Scotland. Lee Westwood has allegedly begun living with another woman. In her divorce petition, Mrs. Westwood alleged that her husband has cheated on her with other women. The golfer has denied the allegations, saying that he has not done “anything wrong.” The couple has two children, but custody does not appear to be an issue.
The real reason for a lengthy divorce may be the couple’s inability to agree on a financial settlement. Westwood has never won one of professional golf’s “major” tournaments, but he has accumulated $65 million in tournament winnings, and he grosses about $6 million per year in sponsorship deals. Mrs. Westwood will undoubtedly claim a significant amount for spousal maintenance and child support. Neither party has disclosed their net worth or their belief as to the other party’s financial situation.
The professional golf season may have an impact on the case. The first court hearing in the case is set for September, but Westwood has asked that the date be changed because he is scheduled to host a golf tournament in Britain. The season is now essentially year-round, and scheduling court dates may be difficult. Westwood, like most parties to a celebrity divorce, will seek the counsel of a lawyer who is experienced in handling high-asset divorces. Anyone with significant assets or income, or both, who is facing a divorce may wish to follow the same strategy.
Source: New York Post, “Golfer faces $65M divorce battle amid cheating accusations,” Jonathan Reilly and James Beal, Aug. 10, 2017