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TX property division: alimony issue in heated billionaire divorce

Although many couples initially wish to end their marriage amicably, that does not mean that disagreements will not come up. Sometimes, these disagreements can become so heated that they lead to a particularly contentious divorce. Texas residents may be interested to hear that the divorce between billionaire and hedge-fund manager Ken Griffin and his wife has turned bitter.

Griffin's wife requested a temporary restraining order to prevent Griffin from entering her home. In response, Griffin has moved to dismiss this and other claims his estranged wife has made regarding property division. Particularly a piece of real estate in Chicago, part of which was a shared marital residence and part of which Griffin alleges he purchased himself after the couple separated.

Griffin claims his wife's own wealth amounts to $50 million, and she is able to support herself. Therefore, he claims that he need not pay her more for her to continue living a lavish lifestyle. The couple had a prenuptial agreement in place, wherein Griffin's wife allegedly agreed to relinquish her right to alimony.

As this shows, property division and alimony issues can be fraught with complications. Texas is a community property state. This means that property obtained during the course of the marriage is determined to be either separate property or community property. Community property is divided between the spouses, in some cases relatively evenly.

In anticipation of the possibility of divorce, many couples wisely choose to enter into prenuptial agreements. As in the Griffin prenup, a prenuptial agreement can address financial matters, including who is to retain what assets in the event of a divorce. Prenuptial agreements can also allocate debts to either one spouse or the other.

Some prenups also contain provisions in which one spouse will waive their right to alimony, also known as spousal support. However, it is possible to contest such clauses during the divorce proceedings, and sometimes such waivers are struck down.

Going through a divorce can be a tumultuous time. One will want to make sure their rights are protected. Despite disagreements, it is possible for couples to part ways in a professional and productive manner.

Source: CNBC, "Citadel founder's divorce battle over property gets ugly," Kate Kelly, Oct. 22, 2014

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