THE BLOG

Why You Should be More Like Rupert Murdoch

23/01/2014 13:05 GMT | Updated 25/03/2014 09:59 GMT

This may seem a controversial statement to make after the recent newspaper scandals, but when it comes to his marriages and (ultimately) divorces, Rupert Murdoch has definitely learned from his mistakes.

The publishing tycoon recently finalised his divorce to third wife, Wendi Deng Murdoch, in what even the presiding judge deemed an "amicable" separation. Due to a prenuptial and two further postnuptial agreements, the couple managed to part ways with a relatively quick court hearing and a hopeful handshake.

No stranger to divorce, Murdoch separated from his previous wife, Anna Murdoch Mann, in 1998 and reportedly paid out $1.7 billion in assets - which apparently included $100 million in cash - when their divorce was finalised the following year.

The settlement was the biggest of its kind at the time and caused Murdoch to become the news story for once, so it is little wonder that the businessman learned the power of prenuptial and postnuptial agreements after footing such a large bill.

Prenuptial agreements

A 'prenup' is a formal agreement that sets out how your money, property and assets will be divided should you divorce. It can be a taboo subject - especially with the newly engaged - but in a country where almost half of all marriages end in divorce, they are becoming as vital as the wedding certificate.

Though they are not currently binding in the English Courts, they are given significant weight by judges when deciding the settlement of a divorce. They are especially important for the following people:

• People who marry later on in life, as it is likely that you would have accumulated more money and assets by this time and will have more to protect

• People who have children from previous relationships, as it is your responsibility to safeguard their future (i.e. inheritance)

• People who are self-employed or manage their own business, as you may want to ensure the future of the company for yourself and your employees

Prenuptial agreements are highly recommended as they can make divorce proceedings quicker, cheaper and less disruptive in the long run.

Postnuptial agreements

Similarly, a postnuptial agreement outlines the division of assets should you separate, but it is created after the marriage has taken place. As they are made 'after the fact' postnuptial agreements can be useful for people who did not sign a prenup or have since found that their circumstances have changed.

Though prenuptial agreements have travelled across the pond and have become very popular in the UK, postnuptial agreements have not managed to make the same transition; however this is largely due to the difference between how the English and American Courts view divorce and the separation of assets.

In order to obtain a valid postnuptial agreement, both you and your partner need to disclose all of your assets honestly and each have your own legal representation. A postnup should also be entered into voluntarily and there should be no pressure to agree.

If you are going to be more like Rupert Murdoch in any way then make sure you have a prenup before marrying. They are an awkward subject to raise with any loved one, but if Murdoch managed to broach the subject of a pre and postnuptial agreement with the wife who so fiercely defended him from a cream pie attack, then I have every faith in you.