Just hours after rumours of a split first surfaced, PR reps for both Madonna and Guy Ritchie confirmed that they are divorcing after seven-and-a-half years of marriage.
According to the BBC, “relations [a]re still cordial and they [are] expected to agree a settlement without going to court.”
But when they reach that settlement, who will walk away with what? Madge and Guy are parents to biological son Rocco and adopted child David Banda, but we’re talking about money here. After all, we’re living in a material world…
The Times of London asked the natural first question: Was there a prenup? No. So, how could this separation play out.
Times of London: Madonna may think twice about filing for divorce in England, as a string of high profile have settlements won London the reputation of being the divorce capital of the world – for the poorer partner in a marriage…
Faced with judgements such as the £48m award to Beverley Charman from her insurance magnate husband John’s £161m fortune in 2006, Madonna might decide she can hang on to more of the couple’s reported £300m fortune by filing in the US, where awards to partners are generally lower.
Madonna would have to meet residency requirements to file Stateside, but fortunately she has that Central Park apartment. Still Guy could file in London, leading to a jurisdictional dispute that could complicate Madonna’s already potentially unrealistic plans to resolve the matter by Christmas.
Assuming the couple can’t agree and the case does go ahead at the High Court in London, the quantum – exactly how much each side could expect to walk away with – would be decided by legal argument over the so-called Section 25 factors listed in the 1973 Matrimonial Causes Act, says Elizabeth Hicks, head of family law at Irwin Mitchell in London.
The process starts with each partner disclosing to the court everything they own and earn – a point of controversy in Heather Mills’ divorce from Sir Paul McCartney, when she claimed his fortune topped £800m but the court put it at £400m.
Wealth and property which predate the relationship are usually treated differently from wealth built up during the marriage, where courts may consider a more equal split, says Ms Hicks.
The Section 25 factors affecting the division include the length of the marriage, the standards of living that both parties have got used to, their respective ages, their earning capacities, past and present and even future income, and whether either has placed their career on hold to help the other – possibly a sore point with RItchie, whose film directing career has languished during the marriage, and is only now starting to revive.
After time spent living together and eight years of marriage, the court would be unlikely to reduce Ritchie’s payout because the couple’s relationship was a short one – unlike Mills’s four year marriage to Sir Paul, which ended with a £24.3m settlement.
Conduct is not normally taken into account unless it involves attempted murder or serious financial wrongdoing, so rumours linking Madonna’s name with US basketball star Alex ‘A-Rod’ Rodriguez would probably play no part.
The Times‘ divorce experts go on to say that Guy is likely to get a huge payout.
We also have to note one other possible business connection: Months ago, when rumours of a Madonna/A-Rod affair surfaced, some claimed that it was all a publicity stunt by Madonna to sell more concert tickets.
Now, Madonna’s just started the US leg of her world tour where roughly half of her dates have sold out. Could it be that this is all another ruse? After all, the movie Madonna produced, Filth and Wisdom, opens this Friday as well.
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