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Billionaire hedge fund CEO files high net worth divorce

Another billionaire divorce has appeared in the public eye. It is the filing by hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin, who is estimated to be worth $5.5 billion. The filing is not in Georgia but the principles are fairly universal throughout the country. The key fact of this high net worth divorce is that it alleges the signing of a prenuptial agreement specifying the division of property terms.

A prenuptial is a highly useful legal contract that a wealthy individual can generally impose on a less wealthy suitor prior to the marriage. In this full-fledged, enforceable contract the less wealthy partner agrees to a more modest distribution of assets and income benefits in the event of a divorce. Such agreements are enforceable unless the wealthier individual did not make full disclosure of his or her assets.

In this case, the defendant is Anne Dias Griffin, became wealthy in her own right by founding a hedge fund of her own and managing it up to a peak of $200 million. She achieved that financial independence prior to the marriage, which may lower any claims she may have for spousal support or alimony. Mr. Griffin asks for joint custody of the children in the complaint.

In some cases, shared or joint custody may indicate that there will not be a request for child support. However, here there are three small children, ages 6, 3 and 2. It’s thus more likely that child support will be paid by Mr. Griffin, considering his massive wealth that far exceeds his wife’s. Additionally, Mrs. Dias Griffin downsized her investment fund a few years back and now runs it out of her home.

That last fact indicates that Mrs. Dias Griffin is shouldering the work of raising the three children. Despite a prenuptial agreement, in Georgia and all other jurisdictions, child support cannot be written off. Mr. Griffin will likely be called upon to assist generously in the children’s upbringing. Of course, in every high net worth divorce, and all divorces for that matter, the final resolution is tailored to the special circumstances of each separate family.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin files for divorce", Becky Yerak, July 24, 2014

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