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Madonna and Guy Ritchie granted speedy divorce

Text by AFP

Latest update : 2008-11-22

Film director Guy Ritchie and singer Madonna are no longer husband and wife, after a London High Court judge officially granted their divorce, barely a month after the "Queen of Pop" filed for it.

Pop superstar Madonna and her British husband Guy Ritchie were Friday granted a "quickie" divorce on the grounds of his unreasonable behaviour, a month after announcing their eight-year marriage was over.

District Judge Caroline Reid pronounced the decree nisi at the High Court's Family Division in London during a hearing which lasted barely a minute and was not attended by the couple or their lawyers.

The case -- Ciccone ML vs Ritchie GS -- was dealt with as British newspapers reported film director Ritchie would receive no money under an agreed settlement.

Ritchie has expressed relief at the speed of the divorce and stressed that access to the couple's children and not money was the biggest issue for him, the Daily Mirror reported Friday.

"Thank God," the paper quoted him as saying. "It was never about money -- never about her bloody art collection. I just wanted to settle it and move on... I didn't raise any objections at any stage until she insisted the children lived permanently in New York."

He is worth an estimated 30 million pounds (36 million euros, 45 million dollars) compared to Madonna's 300 million pound fortune.

The couple's two sons, eight-year-old Rocco and David Banda, three, will split their time between Britain and the US, the Mirror and other papers said.

Madonna's 12-year-old daughter Lourdes, from a previous relationship with fitness trainer Carlos Leon, is set to stay with her mother in the US.

At Friday's brief court hearing, a legal clerk read out a list of 17 couples including Madonna and Ritchie, after which judge Reid pronounced the decree.

A decree nisi is a provisional decree of divorce and must be followed by a decree absolute about six weeks later which legally dissolves the marriage and means that the couple are free to marry other people.

Afterwards, the court released a document in which Madonna stated that Ritchie's unreasonable behaviour was continuing and that they had not lived together at the same address for six months.

By agreeing a "quickie" divorce, the couple avoided a high-profile, big money split like that of Beatles legend Paul McCartney and ex-model Heather Mills earlier this year.

Madonna is regarded as the world's highest-earning female singer -- put her at the top of its latest "cash queens of music" list with earnings of 72 million dollars between June 2006 and June 2007.

Madonna, 50, and Ritchie, 40, announced in mid-October that they were to divorce, nearly eight years after they married in a lavish ceremony at a Scottish castle in December 2000.

Britain's Sun newspaper, which broke the story of their divorce last month, said Madonna thought he was lazy, tightfisted and preferred the pub to his family, while Ritchie allegedly thought she was a control freak obsessed with her Kabbalah faith.

The couple own several properties in Britain including a townhouse overlooking London's Regent's Park; Ashcombe House, an 18th century house and country estate in Wiltshire, southwest England and a stake in a London pub.

In the US, they own a palatial mansion in Beverly Hills, California, as well as apartments in New York.

Madonna, whose full name is Madonna Louise Ciccone, was previously married to US actor Sean Penn but the couple divorced in 1989.

Date created : 2008-11-21