Many people may have seen the video footage of Rupert Murdoch during his public hearing when he was attacked by a pie-throwing protester. His wife, Wendi Deng Murdoch, aggressively defended her husband against the attack. However, the couple has announced they are now divorcing, and the intricate steps of separating property and determining child support for their two daughters has begun.
Like most wealthy, influential men, Rupert Murdoch protected his financial interests with a pre-nuptial agreement. Pre-nuptial agreements are a legal contract signed before entering into marriage that defines the financial assets a partner is allowed to have if the couple divorce. Sometimes, the amount of money depends upon the length of time in the marriage. Spousal support issues may be covered in the agreement. In some cases, the forfeiture in case of adultery may be part of the agreement. Prenuptial agreements are often contested when the assets accumulated during the marriage increase significantly.
The Murdochs have also entered into a number of post-nuptial agreements, as well. Post-nuptial agreements were quite rare until the 1970s when they gained in popularity as divorce became a more prevalent social phenomenon. These contracts occur after a marriage has been entered into in order to divide property and determine appropriate spousal support in case of divorce.
Child Custody and Support
Whatever property and financial arrangements are ultimately arranged because of the divorce, decisions about custody and support of the two daughters born to the marriage will be a separate consideration. Already there is strife on the horizon, because Murdoch announced his intention to prevent the two girls from having full voting rights in his media empire, as do his other four children from two previous marriages. This development could cause considerable contention between the two parties and a lot of fodder for the attorneys to dispute.
Mrs. Murdock recently announced she would be changing her legal representative, from Pamela M Sloan, the lawyer who worked on her pre-nuptial agreement, to a new attorney, William D. Zabel, who is known for his representation of many other high profile divorce cases, including Jane Beasley Welch, wife of Jack Welch, the head of General Electric. Some suggest that Pamela Sloan became friends with the Murdochs over the years, and Mrs. Murdoch preferred to have an attorney that was less personally involved. Because Rupert Murdoch surprised his wife with the divorce papers after returning from a trip. The marriage was said to be irretrievably broken, and the couple had been living separate lives for months. Wendi Murdoch, with help from skilled lawyers, is likely to do her utmost to protect her financial interests in her husband’s far-flung media empire. Murdoch is said to be worth $11 billion and is ranked 91st on the Forbes list of wealthiest people in the world.
The Murdoch Marriage
The Murdochs have been together for 14 years. He married Wendi after the breakup of his last marriage to Anna Maria Torv, to whom he had been married for 32 years. Torv left the marriage with $1.7 billion and $100 million in cash. Murdoch met Wendi at a company party in 1997 in Hong Kong where she was working as an intern. She later became his interpreter in China. The business relationship soon bloomed into romance. The couple married in 1999.