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Billionaire and wife wage war over prenup and property division

When it comes to property division in a high asset Chicago divorce, a prenuptial agreement could serve to make or break one's case. Recently, hedge fund billionaire Kenneth C. Griffin was featured in the news regarding his impending divorce and prenuptial agreement. The investment mogul made his billions through the hedge fund Citadel, which he founded and managed.

The couple's divorce, which was filed in Cook County, Illinois, involves disagreements over asset division and child custody. The billionaire's soon-to-be ex-wife, Ann Dias Griffin, has asked the court to award her sole custody of the couple's three children. She has also asked permission to move her family to New York. Mr. Griffin, on the other hand, is asking for joint custody, and he wants the children to say in Chicago.

Perhaps more interesting are the recently disclosed terms of the couple's prenuptial agreement. The agreement was filed when the couple married in 2003. It involved Mrs. Griffin receiving millions of dollars in cash from the onset of the marriage, in addition to approximately $1 million per year in the years that followed. In total, the billionaire investor has paid approximately $37 million in cash to his wife during the course of their marriage, in addition to gifting her approximately half of their Chicago family home, valued at about $11 million.

In this case, the Chicago hedge fund manager says he is willing to pay for the support of his children, and he wants his wife to adhere to the property division terms of their prenuptial agreement. However, the man's spouse is trying to invalidate the terms. It will certainly be interesting to see how this divorce plays out in court, as it could be an indicator of how courts currently view prenuptial agreements, while illuminating prenuptial agreement strategies to either emulate or avoid.

Source: The New York Times, "Citadel’s Griffin Outlines Terms of Prenuptial Agreement in Divorce Fight" Michael J. De La Merced, Oct. 02, 2014

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