After 14 months of court battles, hedge-find billionaire Ken Griffin and ex Anne Dias Griffin have finally decided on a divorce agreement.
Ken and Anne Griffin Settle Divorce Battle
The hedge-fund billionaire, who is reported to be the 69th richest man in the world according to Forbes magazine, and his wife were able to come to an agreement just days before they were to begin a trial over their prenuptial agreement.
According to Jay Frank of Aronberg Goldgehn in Chicago, reaching a settlement is far preferable to going to court because it’s a “resolution the two of you have come to — there isn’t a third party that doesn’t know you, deciding who gets what.”
For the majority of the battle, Anne maintained she was coerced into signing the prenup just a day before their marriage in 2003.
The best way to avoid finding out that your prenuptial agreement is invalid during a divorce is to ensure that no mistakes are made when the agreement is drafted. Here are some things to avoid.
Prenuptial Agreement Mistakes
A prenuptial agreement can be ruled as “invalid” if there are mistakes. Here are some mistakes that you’ll want to avoid. It’s also recommended that you work with a family law attorney to avoid these mistakes:
- Same Legal Representation – Each spouse should have his or her own attorney. An attorney will explain everything contained in the prenuptial agreement independently of the other spouse. Working with separate attorneys ensures the final agreement is signed voluntarily, and neither spouse feels pressured to sign.
- Signed Under Duress – “Under duress” means a under pressure or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A prenuptial agreement can be found invalid if one party signed under duress and did not have the mental capacity to understand what they were signing.
- Signed Too Close to the Wedding – A prenuptial should be signed one to three months prior to the wedding. If not, it’s easy for a party to argue later on that they were coerced into signing. Each spouse should have time to deliberate on the agreement before signing.
- No Full Disclosure – Disclose all assets and debts.
- Child Support Provisions – Child support and custody should not be a part of a prenuptial agreement.
- Biased – The prenuptial agreement should not show any bias to one party.
- Unenforceable Provisions – Unusual provisions such as one spouse is responsible for dishes can deem an agreement unenforceable.
- Oral Agreement – A prenuptial agreement must be in written form to be valid. Each spouse and each spouse’s attorney should have a copy.
- Ambiguous Writing – Ambiguous wording can be challenged in court. Make sure the writing is all clear and concise.
Additional Planned Trials for the Griffins
The trial over the prenuptial agreement was set to be followed by a separate trial over child support, and yet another separate trial to decide custody and visitation.
Joint Custody Decision
It was decided in the agreement that the couple will have joint custody of their three young children. Prior to the agreement, Anne was seeking sole custody with reasonable visitation for her husband, while Ken was pushing for joint custody.
Additionally, Anne wanted to relocate the children to New York, but it seems that she withdrew that position.
Other than custody, the rest of the terms of the settlement weren’t disclosed.
What is “Joint Child Custody”?
“Joint Child Custody” means that parents who do not live together still share decision-making responsibilities for, and/or physical control and custody of, the children they have together. This form of custody is able to be awarded to parents that are divorced, separated, no longer living together, and even if they have never lived together. Joint child custody is also the form of custody that is favored by the courts.
Joint Child Custody Arrangements
Joint Child Custody can take various forms, such as:
joint legal custody – where the parents share the decision-making responsibilities.
joint physical custody – where children spend time with each parent separately.
joint legal and physical custody – a combination of the above.
Joint Child Custody – Advantages and Disadvantages
There are advantages and disadvantages to joint child custody. While it ensures children continue contact with both parents, children still need to be shuttled from one parent to the other. This can be a difficult situation for non-cooperative parents, and thus can be a hard situation for children stuck in the middle. Regardless of if parents are cooperative or non-cooperative, it’s crucial that all financial records of groceries, finances associated with a child’s after school activities, medical care, and clothing are kept. In cases where parents argue about these things, a judge will appreciate finely detailed records. If parents can maintain a positive parenting schedule and approach, and keep the child’s best interests in mind, joint custody can be a positive and comforting experience for a child.
High Profile Divorce Case
New York divorce attorney James P. Joseph believes the inevitable media attention that comes with such a high-dollar, high-profile case like the Griffin’s is “horrible” for wealthy former couples. He added that the media’s interest can add “an incredible amount of pressure” at an emotionally difficult time for both the spouses and also their children.
While it seems that the Griffin’s dirty laundry has been aired to all, it’s really up to how they manage the conflict within the family. And while it may seem the opposite, low-impact and low-conflict divorces can often have more damaging effects on children than high-conflict and high-impact divorces.
Low Conflict Divorce and Children
Divorce is not easy, and it often brings out the worst in us, but in some marriages, the signs of divorce can be hard to spot for children. If you and your spouse have always had a low-conflict marriage, where there is little yelling, it can be hard for a child to understand where a divorce is coming from.
Dr. Paul Amato, a sociologist at Penn State University, and Alan Booth, also from Penn State, did a study a number of years ago on 2,000 divorcing parents and 700 children of divorcing parents. What they found is that, “From the child’s perspective, there is no evidence that anything is drastically wrong,” says Dr. Booth. “It is an unexpected, uncontrollable and unwelcome event where one parent leaves the home and the other is overwhelmed with the demands of single parenthood and a lowered standard of living.”
Dr. Booth suggests that marriages in which there are high amounts of conflict can actually be more beneficial to children because it can feel as if there is finally an end to a hostile situation. While we are never ones to argue for high conflict, it can make more “sense” to a child.
Whatever the reason or type of divorce you are going through, whether high or low impact, it is never a good enough excuse to pull your kids along through the hurtful ride of roller-coaster emotions. This means learning how to co-parent with your ex-spouse.
Building a Successful Co-Parenting Situation
“The biggest obstacles to successful co-parenting are emotions,” says Alisa Peskin-Shepherd, principal of Transitions Legal, a family law practice that specializes in mediative divorce. “Emotional obstacles are usually anger, resentment and jealousy. Often parents have a hard time separating those feelings toward their former spouse from their attempt to focus on their children.”
The idea of focusing on your children might seem obvious, but that can be really difficult when you receive that text from your ex that makes you want to throw your phone directly into their face.
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