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Hedge-fund owner's divorces involves artwork, business

Each married couple's circumstances and the existence or non-existence of a prenuptial agreement factor into the ease of a divorce. Property division can be relatively straightforward for Minnesota couples who entered into a prenuptial agreement. Fewer assets or less complex assets also make division somewhat simpler. It's when business assets, artwork and numerous residences come into play that the divorce will probably require complex property division.

This is likely the future for billionaire Kenneth C. Griffin, founder of Citadel LLC, a hedge-fund firm, and his soon-to-be ex-wife, Anne Dias Griffin. Luckily, the pair did sign a prenuptial agreement prior to their marriage in 2003, which covers property division as well as maintenance and other issues resulting from their marriage.

The Griffin's marriage is coming to an end after 11 years. The couple has three children together, all of whom are less than 6-years-old. Griffin unilaterally filed for a divorce when his wife and children were gone on summer vacation and without giving her any notice.

His wife's spokeswoman declined to comment on what assets Anne may ask for in the divorce but those with inside knowledge say that hedge fund finances will not come into play. This is Griffin's second marriage and it appears that he protected his firm in the event of a divorce.

The couple enjoyed philanthropy and art, which may be additional issues during the divorce proceedings. Together, they were listed in Art News magazine this month as top collectors. They are also major donors to the Art Institute of Chicago. Auction houses will surely eagerly await the divorce settlement to see who ends up with the various pieces of art.

The majority of divorces do not involve hedge-fund owners, but many do entail business assets, vacation homes and art, albeit on a smaller scale. If there is not a prenuptial agreement to address property division, couples may need assistance to help sort through assets and make sure that everything is fairly distributed.

Source: Business Week, "Citadel's Griffin Seeks Divorce After 11-Year Marriage," Andrew Harris, Saijel Kishan and Katherine Burton, July 24, 2014

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