In a highly unusual divorce case, a Long Island woman Elizabeth Petrakis got her prenuptial agreement thrown out by a Brooklyn appellate court. This case is particularly groundbreaking because prior to Petrakis’s prenup being overturned, prenuptial agreements were generally thought of etched in stone, unable to be challenged. In New York especially, they have been viewed as permanent, due to how rare it is for one to be overturned.
Even more surprisingly, the evidence presented for why her prenup should be thrown out was based on a verbal promise that Petrakis’s husband had made her. Before their marriage, her spouse, who is a commercial property developer worth about $20 million, presented her with a prenup that stipulated that she would get $25,000 for every year they were married and nothing else. However, when she signed this agreement, her husband made an oral promise to her that they would get rid of the prenup after they began to have children. His failure to uphold this promise is what convinced the courts that fraud had occurred, and led to them throwing out the prenup in Petrakis’s divorce case.
Generally, prenups are overturned in rare circumstances such as if there are errors in the paperwork, if one spouse was hiding assets, or if one party was coerced into signing the contract.