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Prenuptial agreement questioned in high-asset divorce

| Sep 10, 2014 | Divorce |

New Jersey residents interested in high-asset divorce may know that the wife of a billionaire hedge fund founder asked an Illinois court on Sept. 2 to void the prenuptial agreement that she approved in 2003. In her filing, she said that she signed it under duress. Reports say that her husband filed divorce papers in July, surprising his wife as she was leaving on vacation. In her filing, the woman said that while she was away, he removed art and furniture from their home.

According to the motion, which was filed in Cook County, her husband, whose estimated worth is $5.5 billion, moved out of their home in 2012 and did not spend time with the children. She asked the court for sole custody of the couple’s children and permission to move with them to New York.

The couple’s prenuptial agreement gave her one percent of her husband’s fortune. This would be equivalent to $50 million. However, the wife said that the agreement was presented to her abruptly several days before their marriage. To resolve the issue, her husband suggested they meet with a psychologist. According to the wife, she did not know her husband was the psychologist’s patient. In addition, she signed the agreement one day before their wedding.

The use of prenuptial agreements has become common, and generally, the document protects assets if a couple divorces. However, a prenuptial agreement serves as a contract between the parties and should be agreed to freely without pressure. Allowing time to review the agreement, perhaps with legal counsel, is appropriate.

In some cases, however, a prenuptial agreement might be disregarded by the courts. Individuals who are seeking to have such a document thrown out might discuss their cases with a family law lawyer. That lawyer could review the circumstances surrounding the signing of the document and might be able to have it dismissed from consideration in some cases.

Source: CNBC, “Anne Griffin Seeks to Void Prenuptial Agreement With Ken Griffin”, Michael J. de la Merced, September 03, 2014

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