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Jesse Jackson Jr. and his estranged wife, Sandi Stevens Jackson. 0

Jackson’s divorce attorney has a billionaire track record

December 14th, 2016

UPDATED with news about Sandi Jackson’s local lawyers.

Former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. is being represented by the same legal firm that helped Citadel CEO Ken Griffin win in his high-profile divorce case last year.

Jackson filed for divorce earlier this week from former Ald. Sandi Jackson. He cited the proverbial irreconcilable differences.

He’s also asking that the couple’s two teen children reside in Chicago. Sandi Jackson wants to keep them in Washington, D.C., where they also have a home.

That’s what makes Jesse Jackson’s decision to hire Barry Schatz so interesting.

Schatz is founding partner of Berger Schatz–a matrimonial law firm that counts high-profile names as clients, including Griffin, who’s listed on the Forbes’ billionaire list.

The crux of the Griffin divorce, which wrapped up in 2015, had to do with where the couple’s three young children would reside.

Griffin wanted them in Chicago, which he calls home. His now ex-wife Anne Dias asked the court to be allowed to move to New York with the children.

After 18 months of disagreement and headlines that made their otherwise private life public, Griffin won. The children have stayed in Chicago–they share time with both their parents.

By hiring Schatz as his divorce attorney, Jackson’s sending a message to his estranged wife that he’s prepared to fight to keep their children in Chicago as well.

Interesting too is who Sandi Jackson has reportedly hired as her Chicago-based attorney: Schiller DuCanto & Fleck, according to Divorce Chicago Style blog.  It’s another divorce form for big names and like Schatz’s firm has a noted collaborative law division that works to find alternatives to litigating divorce. Hello, mediation.

Another point to consider–and what distinguishes the Jackson case from the Griffins’–is the age of their children. The Griffin children were 8 and younger at the time of the divorce. Jacksons’ children are teens and will likely have an opportunity to speak for themselves about where they want to live.

In the Griffin case, terms of the resolution have never been revealed, but Griffin surely paid what was dictated by the prenup (which also was a point of contention in that divorce).

Jackson Jr., the son of the Rev. Jesse Jackson, is no billionaire. But the Jackson family has deep pockets–family members for years were involved in a local Budweiser distributorship that was sold to deep-pockets deal-maker Byron Trott.

I’ll be following the Jackson divorce proceedings here and in my Taking Names column in the Chicago Sun-Times.

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