A Brooklyn appellate court recently shocked the legal world when it threw out a prenuptial agreement between a divorcing couple.
“A prenuptial agreement is a contract between two people signed before marriage that details what will happen in the event of divorce, particularly regarding financial affairs,” and they are almost always upheld in court.
But this was not the case for the agreement signed four days before the marriage of Elizabeth and Peter Petrakis, a real estate magnate worth millions of dollars. The couple tied the knot in 1998 after signing a prenup assuring Peter would keep everything in his name in the event of a divorce.
Elizabeth has maintained that Peter threatened to cancel the wedding if she didn’t sign, thereby coercing her signature, and also promised to void the agreement once they had children. She refers to prenup as “a knife in my heart from Day One.’’
The Brooklyn Appellate Court that heard the case agreed with Elizabeth, finding Peter’s “credibility to be suspect.”
Prenuptial agreements have been increasing in popularity even among everyday folk, which means this case is being closely watched by attorneys to celebrities as well as small town divorce lawyers — especially since the contract was negated through a verbal promise though the agreement mentioned no such verbal agreements.
Elizabeth’s lawyer, Dennis D’Antonio, called the decision “unprecedented.”
Divorce proceedings for the couple are now moving forward, but for those curious as to why a prenup might be a good idea even for those of us not followed by paparazzi, check out “The Big Dilemma: Saying I Do with a Prenup.”
What do you think about prenups?