Page last updated at 00:12 GMT, Friday, 21 November 2008

Madonna split 'not about money'

Guy Ritchie and Madonna
The couple have been married for nearly eight years

Film director Guy Ritchie has told a newspaper that discussion over the terms of his divorce from Madonna "was never, ever about money".

The couple are expected to begin their split at London's High Court later.

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

Ritchie is said to have told the Daily Mirror: "It dragged on much too long and that had nothing to do with me. But it was never, ever about money."

Court lists state that a notice of the couple's decree nisi will be announced at the Principal Registry of the High Court's Family Division at 1000 GMT on Friday.

They are registered for the hearing under the names Ciccone ML and Ritchie GS, but neither party is required to attend.

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

Personal fortune

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

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

Madonna, 50, is currently on tour in North America, and was due to play a concert in Philadelphia on Thursday night.

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

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