Recently, a Brooklyn Appellate Court panel unanimously affirmed two Nassau
County Court decisions to vacate a pre-nuptial agreement on the basis
of a verbal promise. In a first of its kind decision, the Appellate Court
(New York's second highest Court), has endorsed a "bullying"
argument to hold sway with the long established law that a pre-nuptial
agreement is virtually impossible to overturn.
Petrakis v. Petrakis, the Court found that the groom, now husband, had threatened to call off
the wedding if his bride, now wife, did not agree to sign their prenuptial
agreement. The agreement, signed a mere four (4) days before the wedding,
was based, according to the wife, on the fraudulent promise made by the
husband that he would rip up the prenuptial agreement once they had children.
The wife claimed she felt coerced because her father had already paid
$40,000 for the wedding reception.
This ruling now permits the divorce case to proceed full force with no
limits on financial disclosure or the monies the wife may receive in the
division of the marital property. All assets are now up for grabs.
This is a significant change in the law and must be followed closely to
see if the Court of Appeals -- New York's highest Court, is called
upon to overturn the Appellate Court's decision.