Leading article: A material divorce

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It is A pity that a celebrity break-up which at first looked civilised now appears to be descending into acrimony. Unusually, money as such is not at stake – but conflicting statements about money. Earlier this week, a spokeswoman for Madonna was quoted as saying that her ex, Guy Ritchie, would receive at least £49m. Yesterday, another statement described these details as "misleading and inaccurate". The financial details, it went on, would remain private. The primary concern for the couple, it said, was the care and well-being of their children.

All of this is admirable. Privacy in such matters has much to recommend it, especially where children are concerned. Even more admirable, though, would have been an agreement to leave money out of the equation. Roll on the days when pre-nuptial agreements are standard when wealthy people marry, and recognised as binding in law. The unhappy couples – and their spokespeople – would be saved a lot of bother.

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