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Rupert Murdoch and third wife reach settlement in divorce

Rupert Murdoch, the 82-year-old founder and chief executive officer of media giants 21st Century Fox and News Corp, has finalized a divorce from his third wife. The couple met at a hearing in Manhattan to tell a judge they wanted to forgo the trial process and move forward with a settlement on which they had previously agreed. The hearing lasted under 15 minutes, as the judge quickly questioned the ex-spouses regarding the settlement. The judge simply asked them if they had reviewed the settlement with their attorneys and if they planned to carry out the terms of the agreement. Both simply responded "yes." Murdoch's 44-year-old ex ended the hearing by giving him a kiss and holding his hand briefly. The judge was pleased with the couple's amicable handling of the situation.

While most of the specific terms in the settlement were kept private, the property division terms of the settlement are known publicly. Murdoch will keep his two California mansions, one of which is a 16-acre estate near Bel-Air that includes an 8,000-square-foot mansion among luxuriant gardens. Murdoch purchased the estate in 2012 for almost $29 million. The ex-wife will keep the couple's Manhattan penthouse on Fifth Avenue. The couple spent $44 million to buy the residence, which at one time was owned by Laurance Rockefeller. Murdoch allowed his ex-wife to keep the property so that the couple's two young daughters could stay in their home.

The couple had made agreements before and during their marriage that made the split easier. For example, they got married with a prenuptial agreement, and they had a plan for property division in the event of a divorce. It's believed that the agreement does not relinquish any control of 21st Century Fox or News Corp to the ex-wife.

While some high-profile divorces can lead to extensive battles over child custody or property obtained during the marriage, it seems that an agreement in this case has been reached with poise and thoughtfulness. Any couple that has substantial marital assets could benefit from emulating Murdoch, who's now been through the process three times.

latimes.com, "Rupert Murdoch, Wendi Murdoch announce divorce settlement" Meredith Blake and Meg James, Nov. 20, 2013

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