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Prenuptial agreement challenged in high-asset divorce

Married or soon-to-be married couples in Texas can take heed from this example of a divorcing spouse challenging an 11-year-old prenuptial agreement. The agreement stipulated that the wife would receive a one-time payment of one percent of the husband's assets in the event of divorce. The wife has filed to overturn the agreement and proceed with routine property division under Illinois state law. At the same time, she filed for sole custody of their three children and relocation rights. Her specific charges against the prenuptial agreement's validity may be worth the attention of Texas couples.

The wife argues that the agreement was hastily presented and signed "under duress" a mere three days before the wedding. In the statement, she explains that this was the cause of an intense argument that was allegedly resolved by attending a couples therapy session. During the session, she was motivated to sign the document. The charge is that the couple's neutral psychologist was secretly serving as the husband's personal psychologist, and the meeting was a way to manipulate her into signing the document.

If the agreement is voided by the court, the wife may be eligible for a much larger share of her husband's estimated $5.5 billion in assets as well as alimony or child support. The husband has responded publicly to allegations, but his response to the wife's court filings is unknown.

Like other contracts, prenuptial agreements are not necessarily written in stone. The validity and terms of any premarital, marital or divorce agreement may be called into question before a judge. Extreme emotions often accompany the beginning and end of a marriage. A family law attorney may be able to help with analyzing documents, property division and protecting an individual's rights when entering or leaving a marriage.

Source: CNBC, "Anne Griffin Seeks to Void Prenuptial Agreement With Ken Griffin", Michael J. de la Merced, September 03, 2014

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