A divorce can either be amicable or contentious. When it’s amicable, both parties are open to negotiations and work through the separation process quickly, oftentimes without incident. But when a divorce is contentious, disputes generally arise and agreeing to disagree simply will not work in this type of fight.
But even though any couple can experience a contentious divorce, some couples are more likely to experience one than others. When most people think of contentious divorces, they often think of high-asset couples. That’s because people know that there is a lot more at stake in a high-asset divorce, which fuels much of the conflict.
Most people also know that prenuptial agreements also mitigate a lot of issues that arise during a divorce. But as our California readers can see from the case of billionaire hedge fund owner Kenneth C. Griffin, even a prenup is no guarantee that divorce negotiations will go smoothly every time.
As you may have heard, the Griffins are embroiled in a particularly difficult divorce that has both sides arguing over the terms of their prenuptial agreement. While Mr. Griffin feels that the terms of the agreement are more than fair and that the legal document provided his wife with financial security on the day they were married, Mrs. Griffin disagrees, saying that she was forced to sign the agreement.
Among all of the things that the couple is arguing over in the prenup, this piece is perhaps the most important because it will determine how the courts will divide the couple’s billion-dollar fortune. If it’s determined that Mrs. Griffin was forced to sign the prenuptial agreement — possibly under duress — then the document may not be considered enforceable.
But if Mr. Griffin’s claims are true, and his wife had ample time and access to legal counsel before signing the document, then the courts will likely keep true to the terms of the agreement and divide the couple’s assets accordingly.
Though most of our San Francisco readers may not encounter a divorce quite this contentious, it’s worth pointing out that issues often arise during the dissolution process. Being prepared though and getting help from a lawyer may mean the difference between a truly ugly separation and a not-so-contentious one.
Source: The New York Times, “Citadel’s Griffin Outlines Terms of Prenuptial Agreement in Divorce Fight,” Michael J. De La Merced, Oct. 2, 2014