In an article published on 13 June 2013 in the New York Times Amy Chozick reports that Rupert Murdoch has recently filed for Divorce from Wendi Murdoch in the New York State Supreme Court.
The article titled “ After 14 years Murdoch files for Divorce from third wife” states that over the last several years friends have noticed that the couple lived separate lives with Wendi interested in producing movies and Rupert busying himself with his $73 billion dollar news corporation.
That being said some are surprised that 82-year-old Murdoch has actually gone through with divorcing his wife of 14 years. People did not anticipate this due to the financial consequences and the effect it may have on the couples daughters Grace aged 11 and Chloe aged 9.
The Divorce Application to New York State Supreme Court stated “the relationship between husband and wife has broken down irretrievably.”
Ira E Garr of the law firm Garr Silpe will represent Mr Murdoch and Pamela M Sloan of Aronson Mayefsky and Sloan LLP will represent Ms Murdoch, aged 44. Amy Chozick reports that this may be a “highly contentious divorce”. Mr Murdoch’s divorce in 1998 from his second wife Anna cost him $1.7 billion including $110 million in cash.
A spokeswoman for News Corporation confirmed the divorce and stated that it would have “no impact on the company.”
Chozick reports that Mr Murdoch first met then Ms Wendi Deng in 1998 on a business trip to China where she worked at Star TV.
During that same year the article states that Mr Murdoch and his wife of more than three decades Anna separated. Anna ad Rupert had three children Lachlan, James and Elisabeth. Rupert Murdoch divorced his first wife Patricia in 1967. The couple had had one daughter Prudence.
Chozick reports that Mr Murdoch’s six children have equal share in the company News Corporation through a family trust, however only Prudence, Lachlan, James and Elizabeth have the right to appoint trustees for the trust which will give them control over the company when Rupert Murdoch dies. In 2006 Rupert Murdoch announced in a TV interview that Grace and Chloe would have an economic interest in the family's trust however they would not have the same voting rights or ability to appoint trustees as his previous four children. This allegedly created significant tension between Mr Murdoch and Wendi Deng.
Chozick speculates that this could be as a sign that in the future there may be battles over how Mr Murdoch's net worth around $11.2 billion according to Forbes, is to be divided.
This article raises some interesting issues in relation to how assets may be potentially divided when parties separate, particularly in the case when blended families are involved and there are previous partners, wives or husbands and children from previous marriages.
When a matter is before the Court and they are determining how property should be divided between a husband and wife (or a de facto couple) they look at all the assets in the parties’ sole or joint names.
The difficulty is that sometimes other people also have an interest in those assets if they are not owned in the sole name of the husband and wife but rather owned jointly with other people.
In these circumstances sometimes other people need to be joined to the Family Law proceedings. Another common scenario is when a couple have separated but one of the parties has now re-partnered and has purchased assets with their new partner. Sometimes in those cases it may be appropriate for the new partner to be joined to the proceedings. This can complicate matters significantly. For this reason it is sometimes best to resolve property matters with your former partner first before purchasing or investing in new assets jointly with your new partner. You may wish to discuss these issues further with a family lawyer at Armstrong Legal.
Another issue which this article raises is that sometimes being in blended families can create challenges for people in terms of feeling that each of the children of their marriage and previous marriages are valued equally. Bodies such as Relationships Australia offer courses for parents of issues to be aware of in relation to blended families and how to manage these.
If you have any questions in relation to divorce, separation, property or parenting please contact us at Armstrong Legal on 02 9261 4555 to book in an initial obligation free consultation with one of our Family Law lawyers.