Part 1: Lessons in high net worth divorce

Back in June we posted on the news of the divorce filing between Rupert Murdoch and Wendi Deng. At that point, Murdoch had filed and there were rumors that Deng had cheated with ex-British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Going by just these first bits of news to come out surrounding the divorce, one could imagine that if their divorce goes to trial, the headlines will be even further inundated with more divorce gossip.

At this point, a Missouri father may be wondering just why we are even talking about the Murdoch/Deng divorce. This is not to delve into celebrity gossip, but rather — just like any divorce — to focus on what can be learned from this high net worth divorce.

One thing is the rumor of agreements. In the Murdoch divorce the couple supposedly has a prenuptial agreement and two postnuptial agreements.

In general, like a prenuptial agreement, a postnuptial agreement is created in order to clearly state how assets should be divided in the case of a divorce. In many cases, when there are prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, the postnuptial is in order to make the specifications even clearer to understand.

However, with both of these types of agreements, if there is a divorce, it is important that each spouse had proper representation and that the agreement was created fairly. If not, the agreement could end up being challenged in a divorce.

Additionally, when talking about property division in a divorce, know that it is rarely as simple as just splitting everything down the middle. Especially in high asset divorces, where there could be investments in hedge funds, private equity and businesses, division can quickly become even more tricky and contentious as each spouse tries to argue for what is rightfully theirs.

Property division is of course also just one piece of divorce. In our next post, we’ll focus on child custody and child support — which for some spouses — is the primary concern during a divorce.

Source: The New York Times, “From a Prominent Divorce in the Affluent Class, Lessons for All,” Paul Sullivan, Aug. 9, 2013

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