Protecting wealth is an important consideration for many men and women as they prepare to marry, and a prenuptial agreement is part of that process. Many in Punta Gorda believe that prenuptial agreements are ironclad, and will serve to protect against loss of assets in the event of a divorce. It’s important to understand that these contracts can be thrown out of court in certain circumstances, as evidenced by a recent court action in a different state.
Elizabeth and Peter Petrakis were married in 1998. At that time, Peter asked Elizabeth to sign a prenup that would guarantee his ability to retain all assets in the event of a divorce. Elizabeth would be entitled to $25,000 for each year of marriage, but would have no right to any portion of wealth accumulated during the course of the marriage. She balked at the contract, and had not signed as of four days before the wedding.
Peter addressed her concerns by promising to tear up the agreement as soon as the couple had children. As it turns out, he never made good on that promise. When the couple decided to part ways, Peter Petrakis had an estimated net worth of between $20 and $30 million.
When the matter went before a court, the judge ruled that fraud had occurred. Peter made a promise to nullify the prenup if the marriage produced children, and that act was interpreted as a promise that convinced his soon-to-be-wife to sign on the dotted line. The fact that this all took place just days before the wedding might also have come into play.
For those in Punta Gorda who want to create a binding prenup, it’s important to take precautions to ensure the contract will stand under a legal challenge. One way to do so is to ensure that both parties have their own legal representation prior to signing. Another is to handle the paperwork far in advance of the wedding.