The Griffins in happier times (Photo: Bloomberg/Getty Images)
Think having children is expensive? One woman says it costs her $1 million a month to care for her three young kids, according to her estranged husband, hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin, in court documents recently filed as part of the couple’s bitter divorce proceedings.
Anne Dias Griffin, 43, a former hedge fund manager, reportedly claims her child support expenses every four weeks includes $6,800 for groceries, $7,200 for dining out, $60,000 for office space and professional staff including four nannies, $160,000 for vacation digs, and $300,000 for a private jet, per a story published in the New York Post. Anne — said to have quit her job to raise their kids – has already locked in $40 million, per her pre-nuptial agreement, according to the newspaper. But the mother allegedly insists she just wants the kid’s lives to remain every bit as pampered as they had been while living with their father, 45, CEO of investments company Citadel, worth an estimated $5.5 billion.
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The couple (separated since 2012, who filed divorce papers last year after 11 years of marriage) are also at odds over custody of their two-, four-, and six-year-old. He is reportedly seeking joint custody and she wants sole custody.
And what does all this bitter battle cost the kids? Quite a bit. “Every child of divorce faces challenges when parents use their children as pawns,” psychotherapist M. Gary Neuman, tells Yahoo Parenting. “It creates a sense of extreme guilt in the child. They feel as though they are now the reason for the fighting as they hear parents debate about them. That guilt can create self-hate and add to the intense sadness of divorce.”
Such parental drama “is extremely corrosive” to children caught in the cross-fire, psychologist Dr. Justin D’Arienzo, tells Yahoo Parenting, adding that a family law judge he has worked with likens similar situations to “two parents fighting with each other but using their children as the sticks they’re beating the other with.”
If the rancor between the couple in the courtroom spills out at home, D’Arienzo says, the kids will absorb it and suffer regardless of whether or not they’re a part of the proceedings. “Children don’t understand the complexities of adult relationships or why they may end,” he says. “And when things are so tense between mom and dad, children find themselves forced to align with one while blaming the other.” This hurts the child as well as the vilified parent.
Then there’s the example set by the feuding parents. “Kids absorb the way their parents behave,” psychologist James H. Bray, PhD, of the Baylor College of Medicine, tells Yahoo Parenting. “If the adults model fighting and discord, that’s what kids are going to learn.” And don’t think the issues are over their heads because they’re too little, says D’Arienzo. “Even young ones can understand parents sentiments just by nonverbal cues and at early age can figure out if one parent hates the other.”
Fortunately, cases like this are rare. “The good thing is that only 10 to 20 percent of divorces are high conflict like this one,” says D’Arienzo. “It’s just in these high acrimony cases that you see a lasting impact on the children. Most kids, and adults, land happily on their feet six months to two years later.”