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Billionaire's divorce is turning an acrimonious corner

Whether litigated in Georgia or another state, a high net worth divorce can sometimes turn ugly. Actually, the level of cooperation or rancor in a divorce is not proportionate to the amount of assets involved, a fact attested to historically by the tens of thousands of routinely bitter divorce battles undertaken by people of modest means. One divorce involving a billionaire, however, does seem to be getting a bit nasty as it moves forward.

The founder of the Citadel hedge fund has gotten feisty in responding to the demands made by his wife, Anne Dias Griffin, who is also a wealthy person who built up her own investment agency.  He claims that she's worth $50 million and can support herself. The couple are the parents of three children, the youngest of them being 2 years old.

Apparently, Ms. Dias Griffin has chosen to ignore, or perhaps to battle, the prenuptial agreement. In it, she allegedly voluntarily relinquished any right to spousal support from her husband. The relinquishment of spousal support and alimony would in fact be a standard provision in such a contract, along with giving up one's right to most or all of the other's assets.

Nonetheless, Mr. Griffin says that his wife is asking for the use of his private assets, such as real estate, private jets, and credit cards. Additionally, he asked the court to deny his wife's request for a restraining order keeping him out of the three-floor exclusive apartment that they own in a Chicago high rise. She claims he entered the property without her permission, and he argues that he owns the premises himself.

The rules governing the divorce are basically the same as in Georgia. The general rule is that premarital agreements are enforceable contracts, which are not overturned unless one of the parties did not make full disclosure of his assets. Although Ms. Dias Griffin may not be trying to assert an ownership claim in certain assets, she is likely, however, arguing that the needs of the children are primary, and that her husband should be made to pay the maximum for their maintenance and well-keeping.

Source: CNBC, "Citadel founder's divorce battle over property gets uglier", Kate Kelly, Oct. 22, 2014

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