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Is Your Prenuptial Agreement Valid If It Was Coerced?


Prenuptial agreements are considered a formal contract between two parties. The agreement sets provisions for the division of property, finances and spousal support in the event the parties divorce. Traditionally premarital agreements have been difficult to break, but things have changed in recent years. In 2013, an appellate court upheld a trial court’s decision to invalidate the prenuptial agreement between Elizabeth and Peter Petrakis. The court’s decision was shocking but has since opened the door for others to overturn their prenuptial contracts.

Elizabeth Petrakis argued that Peter forced her to sign the contract. He threatened to call off their wedding after her father had already invested over $40,000 into the event. He also claimed that he would invalidate the contract when the couple had children. This landmark case has helped strengthen arguments that would invalidate prenuptial agreements. Prenuptial agreements are invalid when one spouse is pressured to sign the agreement, one party does not fully disclose earnings or assets, the terms are unconscionable or the agreement was fraudulent. Coercion and duress are difficult to prove in court, but many prenups have been revoked using these defenses. Premarital agreements are not valid unless both parties have signed the agreement with proper legal representation of their own.

The esteemed attorneys at Nitti & Nitti have over 30 years of experience representing clients in family law cases. Our lawyers specialize in drafting marital agreements like prenuptial agreements, so we know exactly how to fight for your rights even when you’ve entered into a contract. We understand that parties often enter into prenuptial agreements without following the proper procedure, and this will invalidate the entire document. The attorneys at Nitti & Nitti can help you draft a prenuptial agreement that can withstand future legal challenges and remain valid even when situations change. To learn more about how we can help you, contact our firm at 973-226-4141.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney/client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.