While it is highly unlikely that there is anyone in Little Rock with $9.4 billion, that doesn’t mean that divorcing couples in Arkansas can’t relate to Rupert Murdoch’s upcoming divorce from his wife of more than 13 years, the former Wendi Deng. Unsurprisingly, Murdoch and Deng signed a prenuptial agreement prior to their marriage, and it is likely that the agreement will dictate much of how their divorce will proceed.
It is not just Murdoch’s fortune that made it a good idea to get a prenuptial agreement; there were many factors in Murdoch’s life that made a prenuptial agreement a wise decision. For one, Murdoch had previously been married two times before and had grown children. Had Murdoch divorced without a prenuptial agreement, his other children would have lost a considerable amount of the money they would have been set to inherit.
In addition, Murdoch came in to the marriage with a well-established business. Without a prenuptial agreement protecting that business, Deng would have had a very compelling case as to why she should receive a substantial portion of the profits made by the company during the length of their marriage, even though the company predated the marriage. A prenuptial agreement, however, can take into account exactly what possessions (whether tangible or intangible) individuals have before marriage, and ensure they do not become marital property the moment the wedding license is signed.
The nature of their prenuptial agreement is not public and it is still unclear exactly what each party will get following the divorce. Because Deng and Murdoch have children, however, it is likely that whoever is the parent with primary custody will receive child support.
Source: Reuters, “News Corp.’s Rupert Murdoch files for divorce from wife Wendi,” Liana B. Baker, June 13, 2013