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Billionaire Rupert Murdoch finalizes divorce

Many of our Pennsylvania readers are familiar with Rupert Murdoch, a man whose name has become synonymous with extravagant wealth. As the director of several worldwide media organizations, Murdoch has amassed a personal fortune totaling in the billions of dollars.

Yet, he is still subject to the same relationship troubles that can affect any other person. In fact, his relationship with his wife of 14 years, Wendi Deng, recently came to an end this month following a brief court appearance.

Murdoch and Deng finalized their divorce in a New York courtroom this month after meeting for just 10 minutes before a judge. The judge asked them whether they understood the purpose of the hearing, to which both spouses answered "yes." Then, the judge dissolved the marriage, and both Murdoch and Deng were free to go.

The speed of the divorce was likely due, in part, to the prenuptial agreement that Deng and Murdoch signed before they were married. The terms of the agreement were secret, but sources say it guaranteed that Murdoch would be able to maintain full control of his companies in the event of a divorce - Deng would receive no voting rights.

It is not clear whether the prenuptial agreement also determined issues such as property division or alimony, though sources say Deng did retain control of the couple's $44 million apartment in New York, which serves as a home for their two children.

The couple negotiated a divorce settlement behind closed doors, a move that helped to avoid a public trial and to move forward with the process more quickly. While not everyone is subjected to the same public scrutiny, this case shows how helpful a prenuptial agreement can be when it comes to the speed of the divorce settlement. However, prenuptial agreements should be reviewed by a qualified family law attorney to ensure they will stand up in court.

Source: The New York Daily News, "Rupert Murdoch reaches divorce settlement with third wife, Wendi Deng Murdoch" Barbara Ross and Corky Siemaszko, Nov. 20, 2013

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