Billionaire hedge fund manager Ken Griffin and his wife, Anne Dias Griffin, have settled their 14-month-old divorce case, a day after a public trial over their prenuptial agreement was set to begin.
News of the settlement was announced by a Cook County Circuit Court administrator on Wednesday morning.
We were informed that the parties came to an agreement, Nairee Hagopian told media gathered outside the office of domestic relations Judge Grace Dickler. They settled the case. The attorneys and the parties came to the courthouse Tuesday, and the divorce was finalized, Hagopian said.
The couple had been married since July 2003.
The judgment was signed Tuesday by the judge and the attorneys for both sides, according to a court document.
The couple will have joint custody of their three young children. Dias Griffin had been seeking sole custody with reasonable visitation for Griffin. Griffin wanted joint custody.
Dias Griffin also wanted to move the children to New York. The court document says that she withdrew that petition.
She gets the right to resume using her maiden name, the judgment said.
The two sides had gone to war over the validity of their prenuptial agreement. The court document refers to a marital settlement agreement. The document also said that the premarital agreement from July 2003 is valid.
Other than custody, terms of the settlement werent disclosed.
Irreconcilable differences and difficulties have caused the irretrievable breakdown of Kenneth and Annes marriage, the judgment said.
The trial over the prenuptial agreement was set to begin Monday morning, but after several hours of procedural motions in Dicklers private chambers, the judge re-emerged in her 19th floor courtroom Monday afternoon to say the two sides had resumed settlement talks.
The trial over the prenup was to last seven days, followed by a trial in November and December over child support, and another trial in January over custody and visitation.
Before the settlement was announced, one divorce attorney said Dias Griffin would have had a hard road to go to persuade a judge to throw out the prenuptial agreement.
Jay Frank of Aronberg Goldgehn in Chicago said that unless Dias Griffin could show that Griffin, founder of Chicago-based hedge fund Citadel, did not adequately disclose his assets, she was on the weak end of the case, adding, Id take his end of the case any day of the week.
A settlement is typically preferable because its a resolution the two of you have come to — there isnt a third party that doesnt know you, deciding who gets what, Frank said.
And while you never want to involve the kids in the financial side of any settlement and those two issues should remain separate, Griffin may have believed he could trade some concessions on that front from Dias Griffin in return for a financial deal, Frank added.
New York divorce attorney James P. Joseph, one of many lawyers who represented Patricia Duff in her bitter and very public divorce from leveraged buyout billionaire Ronald Perelman in the late 1990s, said the inevitable media attention on high-profile cases is horrible for wealthy former couples and adds an incredible amount of pressure at an emotionally difficult time for both the litigants and their children.
That pressure only increases in the digital age, with the knowledge that children will be able to read about the case online for the rest of their lives. The ramifications will always be there, he said. It magnifies the tragedy.
Joseph said that most wealthy couples choose to settle out of the limelight and keep a grip on their emotions. But once the public reads about the case in the media, typically its not possible to do that.
Adding to the pressure for many spouses who married into wealth is the knowledge that the divorce may signal the final act of their public life, he said.
But divorce settlements among that set tend to hit men the hardest, Joseph said. Its not going to impact their quality of life, he said, but it can be very difficult psychologically, particularly for the men if their net worth is how they define themselves.
If they were worth $20 million and now theyre worth $10 million, thats hard for them.
Joseph said that such cases are common on Wall Street, and that when he has a wealthy male client, I push them very hard to be in therapy ... I tell them that theres a lot coming that theyre not used to dealing with.
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