Long Island case shines light on prenuptial agreements
Updated On: Mar 12 2013 06:02:04 PM CDT
A Long Island woman signed a prenuptial agreement and then, after 15 years of marriage, was able to get it thrown out by a judge.
Peter and Elizabeth Petrakis were in love in 1998, but four days before the New York couple married, Peter asked Elizabeth to sign a pre-nup, giving away all claim to his future earnings.
"I never thought to see a financial planner. I wasn't the money-maker," said Elizabeth Petrakis.
Elizabeth said Peter promised to tear up the agreement after the couple had their first child.
After three kids, the pre-nup was still intact, so the one-time cooing couple started scrapping in the courts.
"There are three main issues that can invalidate a pre-nup. That is fraud, misrepresentation and duress, " said Stephen Zamborski, an attorney in Allentown.
Elizabeth was able to prove she was coerced into signing.
While the case sets a precedent in New York, Zamborsky said Pennsylvania law is much different. Anything you own separately like property, retirement accounts and your car are protected going into a marriage, but you split any increase in the value of those assets and any new ones you acquire.
"Anything can be in a pre-nup except for bargaining away the rights of a child," said Zamborsky, adding that if you have children from a previous marriage, a pre-nup will protect their inheritance.
A lot of people are turning to web sites for legal documents.
"More often than not, you get what you pay for. You are not getting a specific agreement that is tailored to you specific circumstances," said Zamborsky.
If you have a lot of assets, Zamborsky said you may want to spend a few more dollars to make sure your pre-nup doesn't give them all away to your former spouse.
Copyright 2013 WFMZ. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Manhunt continues for accused cop killer Eric Frein
State police seen rushing back to Frein's neighborhood
Black bear kills hiker in northern New Jersey
Officials narrow search for accused cop killer Eric Frein
Police: 4 children killed in crash were not in seatbelts or booster seats
Fire rips through first story of home
State police say they are hot on Eric Frein's Trail
East Penn still having problems with new school bus company
Pocono Mountain reopens for first day since Frein ID'd as police shooting suspect
Food service company in hot water in Bangor