With a net worth of $11.2 billion, Rupert Murdoch’s divorce from Wendi Deng could be the most expensive ever.
Rupert Murdoch was married three times and his split from second wife, of 32 years, Anna Murdoch, in 1999, is currently the world’s biggest.
Anna Murdoch received $1.7 billion of his assets – including $110 million in cash, according to ABC news.
The second most expensive divorce was in 2008, when Formula One tycoon Bernie Ecclestone settled with Slavica for $1.2 billion.
Australia-born Rupert Murdoch took residence in the U.S. in 1974 and became a naturalized American citizen in 1985, based in New York City.
Rupert Murdoch and Wendi Deng filed for their divorce at the New York State Supreme Court this morning. It is not clear which of them will move out of their Upper East Side apartment.
As well as New York being their main residence, Rupert Murdoch and Wendi Deng may have filed their petition in the city because it’s “a place where prenups are generally given a significant amount of presumptive validity by the courts”, Bernard Clair, an established Manhattan divorce lawyer not involved in the Murdoch case, told NBC.
The issue of such validity would arise if the agreement was challenged in court.
Entering into a prenup has long been an option in the U.S. and all states recognize premarital agreements through statutes or court decisions.
Such agreements have only recently become legally enforceable in Australia, since 2000; and prenups first became legally recognized in Britain in 2010.
A pre-nuptial agreement is a contract entered into before marriage which specifies property and financial distribution in the event that the marriage terminates.
In the case of the Murdochs, the education and upbringing of the children born to the couple will also be an issue, as they have two daughters together – Grace, 11 and Chloe, 9.
Rupert Murdoch and Wendi Deng had a pre-nup agreement and have held shares in trust for their children, so the divorce is unlikely to lessen the media mogul’s grip on his media empire.
Under the property distribution laws in many states, a spouse who brings a large amount of cash, property, and other financial holdings to a marriage and makes them part of the marital estate may lose much of that property to the other spouse upon divorce.
Therefore, a spouse who brings substantially more money or property to a marriage may want a premarital agreement to protect some or all of those assets if the marriage fails.
Rupert Murdoch’s marriage to his first wife, Patricia Booker, a former shop assistant and flight attendant from Melbourne, lasted from 1956 to 1967.
They had one daughter, Prudence, in 1958. It is not clear what settlement they reached.