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Wendi Murdoch Switches Lawyers, Preparing for Messy Divorce Battle
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It’s been a little over a month since Rupert Murdoch announced that he and his wife of 14 years, Wendi Murdoch, would be getting a divorce. Now both sides are gearing up for what could be a long, drawn-out battle in court as the two sides divide up assets and settle child custody arrangements. Mrs. Murdoch switched divorce lawyers this week, hiring William D. Zabel to represent her in divorce proceedings.

According to The New York Times, Mr. Murdoch and Mrs. Murdoch married in 1999 and signed a prenuptial agreement at the time, followed by two post-nuptial agreements. However, experts note that there are often still many areas left uncovered, including child custody and support for the couple’s two daughters, Grace and Chloe. Mr. Zabel has strong experience in trust law, and Mrs. Murdoch’s decision to hire him was a signal that the primary issues of contention could be centered on the couple’s two children and how the family assets would be divided between them.

  
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Mrs. Murdoch’s previous divorce lawyer, Pamela M. Sloan, had worked with the couple in 1999 on their original pre-nuptial agreement. Sources contend that Mrs. Murdoch ultimately decided to go with a lawyer who was not so personally connected with both sides. On the other side, her husband will be represented by Ira. E. Garr, as well as Gerson Zweifach, who serves as general counsel for Mr. Murdoch’s companies.

Mrs. Murdoch famously learned she was getting a divorce only after her husband served her the papers last month in New York. But there have been signs along the way of a strained relationship, most notably in 2006, when Mr. Murdoch originally structured the family trust to give his daughters Grace and Chloe equal monetary interest, but not the same voting status as his children from his previous marriages. According to The New York Times, the announcement almost led to the couple’s early split.

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