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New developments in Murdoch divorce indicate trust battle

Divorce is rarely easy for any Minnesota resident, emotionally speaking, but it's safe to say that the process is more technically difficult for some people than it is for others. When married Minnesotans own businesses, large investment portfolios or other complex property, the process of dividing the marital assets can be especially tricky.

One such high net worth divorce that has been in the new recently is that of controversial media mogul Rupert Murdoch, who filed for divorce in June from his wife of 14 years, Wendi Deng. The couple reportedly signed a prenuptial agreement, later supplemented by post-nuptial agreements, so some watchers have predicted that the divorce will go smoothly.

However, Deng recently hired a new lawyer who specializes in estates and trusts, and this could indicate an area of dispute in the couple's divorce. Some observers have noted that one area of the couple's vast assets that could be up for negotiation is the Murdoch family trust. Deng and Murdoch have two daughters, and Murdoch has said that they will have the same amount of money as his four children from previous marriages but will not have the same voting rights as the older children. Deng reportedly did not know about her children's lesser status until Murdoch revealed it during a television interview. Some watchers expect that the daughters' status within the trust will be a subject of negotiation during the divorce.

Needless to say, few Minnesota residents going through a divorce have hundreds of millions of dollars at stake, as do Murdoch and Deng. However, many of the issues they face are the same. When a Minnesota couple divorces, the parties must list all their assets and divide personal property from property obtained during the marriage. They then divide the marital property in a way that meets Minnesota's standards of fairness.

It can be difficult to divide a home or other common forms of property, but the process becomes especially difficult when the assets being divided are in less tangible forms, such as stock options or the value of a business. Minnesota residents who have assets of this type should seek out help negotiating the best ways to divide property and get on with their new lives.

Source: CNBC.com, "Murdoch's estranged wife brings in legal big guns," Robert Frank, July 30, 2013

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