Americans are fascinated with celebrities. But when a high-profile couple goes through a high asset divorce, the media frenzy can be astonishing. That has been the case since news broke that Rupert and Wendi Murdoch would be getting a divorce. Rupert Murdoch is one of the wealthiest people in the country, and the fact that he himself is the chief executive of a major news corporation is only adding fuel to the fire. But, as a recent article noted, there may be some ways for the average Maryland resident to benefit from watching this type of divorce unfold.
Regardless of whether a divorce involves millions of dollars in assets or not, individual property interests will pop up during the asset division process. For high asset divorces, however, there is a greater chance that an independent asset valuation may come into play, just to gauge the sheer amount of assets involved. This particular area of a divorce, however, can be carefully considered years ahead of time by drafting a prenuptial agreement before the wedding occurs. “Prenups” are primarily concerned with property division, because other areas like child support and child custody generally aren’t allowed to be included. In the Murdoch divorce, there is reportedly a prenuptial agreement, so the division of property may go a bit more smoothly than if there hadn’t been one to begin with.
Another concern for many couples, regardless of the status of the bank accounts, is child custody and child support. These are areas that must be addressed in high asset divorces as well, even though child support orders may be for thousands of dollars per month instead of hundreds.
All in all, every divorce has the potential to turn from an amicable process into a full-fledged courtroom dispute. If complex asset division is part of the problem, the situation can get even messier. So far in the Murdoch divorce there haven’t been any reports about major contentiousness. The couple is probably hoping it stays that way.
Source: The New York Times, “From a Prominent Divorce in the Affluent Class, Lessons for All,” Paul Sullivan, Aug. 9, 2013