Sunday, August 11, 2013
Wendi Murdoch recently switched lawyers about a month after Rupert Murdoch surprised her with divorce papers, signaling this separation could get messy.
Wendi, Rupert’s wife of 14 years, hired well-known New York trusts and estates lawyer William D. Zabel. Wishing for more independent counsel, Wendi dumped her previous lawyer, Pamela M. Sloan, who had advised on her 1999 prenuptial agreement. The Murdochs also executed two postnuptial agreements; however, there are still areas open for negotiation, such as custody arrangements and child support for their 11 and 9-year-old daughters, the division of certain assets like their Fifth Avenue penthouse and yacht, as well as the interests in the Murdoch family trust.
William D. Zabel, of Schulte Roth & Zabel, typically advises on estate planning matters for wealthy clients like George Soros and the Lehman family. But Zabel has handled the occasional divorce for clients such as Michael Crichton, Howard Stern, Jets owner Robert Wood Johnson IV, former wife of Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, and Jane Beasley Welch, the former spouse of the former CEO of General Electric.
See Peter Lattman & Amy Chozick, Wendi Murdoch Hires a New Lawyer, Suggesting a Divorce May Turn Messy, The New York Times, July 29, 2013.
Special thanks to Joel Dobris (Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.