Did billionaire spring prenup on bride days before wedding?


Many wealthy individuals in North Carolina and the rest of the country enter prenuptial agreements before marriage in order to protect their assets and income if the union should end in divorce. Instead of following the state’s equitable distribution laws, the prenuptial agreement sets the terms for how the marital property should be divided.

However, like other legal contracts, prenuptial agreements have to be executed properly in order to be upheld in court. Occasionally, prenuptial agreements are set aside because of fraud, duress or other unfair behavior. The agreements can also be tossed out if the judge deems them to be “unconscionable,” or so grossly unfair that the terms “shock the conscience.”

In the heated divorce between one of the country’s wealthiest couples — hedge fund magnate Ken Griffin and Harvard MBA Anne Dias Griffin — a judge will have to determine whether a prenup entered by the couple is legally enforceable. Under the terms of the contract, Dias Griffin would be entitled to only 1 percent of her husband’s wealth, which has been estimated at more than $5 billion.

In her recent divorce filing, Dias Griffin asked that the prenup be tossed out because she allegedly signed it under “duress and coercion” before the couple’s 2003 wedding. Specifically, Dias Griffin charges that her husband first showed her the agreement “shortly” before the wedding and did not disclose his financial details until days before the wedding.

She also alleges that the couple attended therapy at Griffin’s suggestion with a psychologist who told her that she was being “difficult” and urged her to sign the prenup. Dias Griffin said she learned later that her husband had a professional relationship with the psychologist in the past.

The law makes clear that both parties must have sufficient time to review the contract before the wedding date with attorneys on their own behalf. If what Dias Griffin alleges is true, it is possible that the prenup could be thrown out and she could be entitled to billions. However, Griffin’s lawyer called the allegations “salacious and simply untrue” in a statement.

A judge will have to get to the bottom of the truth.

Source: The New York Times, “Anne Griffin Seeks to Void Prenuptial Agreement With Ken Griffin,” Michael J. De La Merced, Sept. 2, 2014