Does a prenuptial agreement impact child support obligations?

Although a prenuptial agreement may impose restrictions on a spouse, it generally cannot assign limits on each parent’s responsibilities for child support and custody.

Yet an attorney that focuses on divorce and child support issues knows that a prenuptial agreement might still be attacked under a theory of child support obligations. At least, this appears to be a strategy in the divorce between Citadel founder Kenneth Griffin and his wife, Dias.

The couple executed a prenuptial agreement, pursuant to which Kenneth has been paying the carrying costs for Dias’ exclusive occupancy of the couple’s former marital residence in a high-rise condo. However, the prenuptial agreement capped the length of her post-separation occupancy at one year.

Dias has been living in the condo with the couple’s three minor children since the couple’ formal separation in February 2014. Their divorce is still pending in court. In a recent filing, however, Dias has requested the court to invalidate the prenuptial agreement. She seeks continued occupancy in the high rise. Kenneth reportedly has agreed to pay for the children’s expenses but not the costs of staying in the former marital residence. He has, however, offered to buy Dias’ 50 percent interest in the property.

In Massachusetts, the courts calculate child support obligations based on the paying parent’s gross income and the number of children for whom support will be ordered. With children in a high-asset divorce, the court may also consider the standard of living prior to the divorce. In this case, both parents have assets: Dias has $50 million in assets, and Kenneth’s net worth is estimated at around $5.5 billion.

With the help of a family law attorney who focuses on divorce and child support, the best interests of the children in this story may be preserved while still obtaining a fair outcome for each represented parent.

Source: Massachusetts Court System, “Massachusetts Law about Child Support

Source: Chicago Tribune, “Griffin divorce: Billionaire’s wife says term’s seek her to be ‘good girl’,” Becky Yerak, Jan. 21, 2015