Residents of Pennsylvania may have read recent media reports about the marital problems facing media tycoon Rupert Murdoch. The third Mrs. Murdoch made headlines two years ago when she defended her husband from a pie throwing protester during a hearing in London, but that may have seemed a distant memory for the couple when they appeared in a New York City courtroom on Nov. 20 to announce that they had reached a divorce settlement.
New York is a popular divorce venue for high profile couples due to the state’s privacy laws. In states like California, divorce agreements are part of the public record, but this is not the case in New York. Judges in the Empire State are also reluctant to overturn prenuptial agreements, and this may also have been a factor Mr. Murdoch considered. The media mogul received an expensive lesson in matrimonial law during his last divorce when he was required to pay $1.7 billion to his second wife.
However, the third Mrs. Murdoch will hardly come away from the marriage empty handed. Part of the settlement awards the 44-year-old Deng a Park Avenue apartment which was purchased eight years ago for $44 million. The couple then lavished another $50 million on renovations to the showpiece home. While these sums may seem astonishing to onlookers, they are unlikely to cause much concern to the 82-year-old businessman who controls a media empire valued at over $13 billion.
This story shows that even high profile divorce cases can be concluded amicably. Mr. and Mrs. Murdoch may have retained accomplished matrimonial lawyers who negotiated a settlement while minimizing stress and acrimony. This is a path that may also prove prudent when the stakes are not quite as high. An experienced divorce attorney may be able to help clients reach an agreement while avoiding the pitfalls that can often make the process an ordeal.
Source: ABC News, “Rupert Murdoch, Pie-Catching Wife Finalize Divorce“, Alan Farnham, November 20, 2013
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