Page last updated at 20:48 GMT, Thursday, 20 November 2008

Madonna and Ritchie begin divorce

Madonna and Guy Ritchie
Madonna and Guy Ritchie married in December 2000

Pop star Madonna and her film director husband Guy Ritchie are to begin their divorce at the High Court in London on Friday, according to court lists.

A notice of the couple's decree nisi will be posted at the Registry of the Family Division.

According to reports, the couple have reached a settlement over finances and sharing custody of their children.

If there are no disputes, a decree nisi can become a decree absolute within weeks, legally ending the marriage.

The couple were married at Skibo Castle in Scotland in December 2000, they announced their separation in October.

The couple are registered for the divorce hearing under the names Ciccone ML and Ritchie GS. It will be heard before the High Court's Family Division at 1000 GMT.

Neither party is required to attend the hearing, which is likely to last a matter of minutes.

According to The Times newspaper, the 50-year-old singer will retain the bulk of her wealth, estimated to be £300m.

Ritchie's personal fortune is thought to be around £30m.

The couple's two sons - eight-year-old Rocco and David, two, adopted from Malawi - may share their time between their UK and US homes, reports suggest.

The paper added that Lourdes, Madonna's 12-year-old daughter from a previous relationship, will continue to live with her mother.

Madonna is currently on tour in North America, and was due to play a concert in Philadelphia on Thursday night.

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