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How Will Madonna And Guy Split Their $$?

Guy Ritchie is said to be "livid" that word of his pending divorce from Madonna surfaced now, but friends of the couple and show business observers are hardly surprised about the split, according to a British reporter.

And now that the split is official, enquiring minds are anxious to know how they'll split their fortune. That, of course, will be determined by divorce proceedings, with or without a trial.

On The Early Show Thursday, prominent New York divorce lawyer Nancy Chemtob told co-anchor Julie Chen that the couple's apparent decision to divorce in the United Kingdom could have a huge impact on how their loot is divvied up.

Their fortune is estimated at $525 million, with $35 million of that said to be Ritchie's worth.

"In the U.K.," Chemtob explained, "they would divide it based on what they believe the contributions were of Guy Ritchie during the marriage and Madonna, and what they look at is the total network net worth. So, in the U.K., it could be 50-50."

But, she added, it "absolutely" would be better for Madonna to get un-hitched in the U.S. which "looks at the premarital assets, what Madonna's net worth was prior to the marriage and how much she brought in to the marriage, who she was, her celebrity status at the time of the marriage. She would do incredibly better in the United States.

So, why would she (reportedly) agree to get the divorce under British law?

"She does have a choice," Chemtob replied. "You get to determine where you file for divorce based on your residency in the United States. She does have a residence in New York and Los Angeles. So, that would be her choice. I think the reason they would get divorced in the U.K. is because the children are there, they are going to school there, so if custody were at issue, that would be the proper forum."

From London, Katie Nicholl, show biz editor of the Mail on Sunday newspaper, told Chen the timing of the confirmation of the couple's intention to divorce "has taken us all by surprise," since Madonna is in the middle of her "Sticky and Sweet" tpour and Ritchie is just out with his latest directorial effort, "RocknRolla."

"I remember reporting on the fact the marriage was in real trouble earlier this year from the Cannes Film Festival," Nicholl continued, "where I watched the body language. The frostiness between them was tangible. This was not a happy couple in love.

"But the timing is bizarre. Ritchie's movie just opened in the States. There's a big promotional tour going on. And Madonna, of course, is on stage every single night. I don't think either of them wanted this story to come out. I think there was a leak in the British press, and I understand that Guy Ritchie is absolutely livid, those are the words I'm told, that this story has broken now."

Still, Nicholl added, friends of the couple are hardly shocked about the breakup: "They're not expressing a huge degree of surprise. I was, as I said, speaking to people as early as May this year when they were saying that the Ritchies were trying to do everything they could to get their relationship back on track, to get the marriage cemented again, and it just wasn't working. So I don't think there's shock, horror here. I don't think people are surprised. I think they're saddened because, as far as show business relationships or marriages are concerned, this had longevity (seven-and-a-half years), but I think these are two very, very strong people and I think, inevitably, there have been problems, rows, and tensions, and I think the reason this has all come to a head is because the pretense -- it couldn't go on any longer."