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Rupert Murdoch divorce nearing finalization

Very few people in Arkansas have the media attention equal to that of Rupert Murdoch. The media billionaire was again in the news recently as he and his third ex-wife appeared in a Manhattan court seeking the judge's approval of their divorce settlement paperwork.

With the dissolution of his 14-year marriage, Murdoch had in place not only a prenuptial agreements but also two postnuptial agreements. As New York divorce filings are closed under state law, no details of the settlement or of the earlier agreements are publicly available. However, some information has been previously reported. It is understood that the settlement will not have any effect on Murdoch's direct ownership of The Wall Street Journal nor on his interests in News Corp. and 21st Century Fox that are maintained in a family trust.

It has also been reported that Murdoch's ex-wife will keep the family's primary residence, a Manhattan apartment that was purchased by the couple for $44 million in 2005 and subsequently refurbished for an additional $50 million. This has been the home of the Murdochs' two young daughters, and this part of the property division seems to reflect the desire of the parents to minimize the potential disruption to their children's lives. Murdoch has four adult children from his earlier marriages.

It has been speculated that the existence of the earlier agreements resulted in Murdoch having to part with far less in his current divorce than the estimated $1.7 billion he reportedly gave his second wife upon the dissolution of that earlier marriage. Regardless of the amount involved, this shows that these types of agreements may help minimize the contention that often arises when a divorcing couple is attempting to arrive at a settlement.

Source: ABC News, "Rupert Murdoch, Pie-Catching Wife Finalize Divorce", Alan Farnham, November 20, 2013

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