Yesterday, I posted on on the Petrakis case in New York where a coerced and fraudulently induced prenuptial agreement was set aside. This case has been all the buzz in both the main stream news and the family law community nationwide.
Many people are shocked by this decision because most agreements typically provide that the agreement is the entire understanding and that there are no "side deals" or parts of the agreement not in the document. Similarly, most cases provide disclaimers for coercion, undue influence, not enough time, etc.. Generally, agreements are set aside if there was not full disclosure and/or there was significantly inaccurate disclosure or the agreement is unconscionable to enforce. Depending on the jurisdiction, unconscionability is determined either when the agreement was signed or when it was to be enforce and in some jurisdictions, like New Jersey, both.
Today’s New York Post reports that the husband plan’s on appealing the ruling to the Court of Appeals (the highest court in New York). Interestingly, his lawyer, Stephen Gassman stated that the husband “did not anticipate the publicity and he wants his side of the story to be told.”’ The Court of Appeals can choose not to hear the case. Stay tuned.
Eric Solotoff is the editor of the New Jersey Family Legal Blog and the Co-Chair of the Family Law Practice Group of Fox Rothschild LLP. Certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Matrimonial Lawyer and a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Attorneys, Eric practices in Fox Rothschild’s Roseland, New Jersey office though he practices throughout New Jersey. You can reach Eric at (973)994-7501, or firstname.lastname@example.org.