For many years, prenuptial agreements have been viewed as a tool only for the wealthy. In recent years, that perception has been shifting; many couples who are marrying later in life, or marrying for the second time, use the document as a way to protect their personal assets before entering into marriage. Though still far from common, prenuptial agreements are used by couples with average wealth as well as the rich and famous.
It’s the rich and famous, however, who get the media attention, and it’s perhaps this fact that leads viewers to conclude that prenuptial agreements are only for the wealthy.
Recently, one of the wealthiest people in the world, Rupert Murdoch, put a prenuptial agreement into use in preparation for his third divorce. He and his wife Wendi Deng recently separated after a marriage lasting 14 years. They have two children together, girls aged 10 and 11.
Murdoch and Deng, with the assistance of family law attorneys, prepared their divorce in private, meaning the terms of the separation or not open for public viewing. According to the New York Daily News, however, a prenuptial agreement signed before the wedding ensures that Rupert Murdoch not cede any control of his vast media empire to his ex-wife. Though she will likely be given a portion of the Murdoch fortune, neither she nor her children will have voting rights in any of Murdoch’s businesses.
Sources say the two had some difficulty in determining ownership of two of Murdoch’s homes — one, his $44 million apartment in New York, and the other a home in China. In the end, it seems that Deng will retain control of the New York home, which the two children call home. The fate of the home in China remains unknown.
New York Daily News, “Rupert Murdoch reaches divorce settlement with third wife, Wendi Deng Murdoch” Barbara Ross and Corky Siemaszko, Nov. 20, 2013