In a case before Justice Jeffrey Goodstein sitting in a Supreme Court, Matrimonial Part in Nassau County, a wife brought a proceeding to set aside a pre-nuptial agreement the parties had entered into more than 10 years earlier. The husband brought a motion seeking to dismiss wife’s claim to set aside the pre-nuptial agreement.
The wife argued the pre-nuptial agreement was invalid due to the fact that there had been fraudulent inducement, breach of contract, coercion, among other issues. She claimed her spouse had promised her the agreement would be no longer in effect after seven (7) years of marriage. She also claimed she was coerced into signing the agreement and she did not have the opportunity to have independent counsel.
The agreement was executed a few days before the wedding took place. The wife also claimed her husband had breached significant portions of the agreement.
The Judge’s Decision
Justice Goodstein rendered a decision the wife had failed to prove her case due to the agreement’s unambiguous language. He also found she failed to establish fraudulent inducement. In addition, he found she did not establish coercion, breach of contract or lack of independent counsel. His decision noted the wife did not provide any corroborating testimony or evidence to support her allegations and statements.
Judge Goodstein did find there was some ambiguity with regard to the issue of life insurance and thereafter ruled the entire agreement was valid except for the clauses dealing with life insurance.
Before entering into a pre-nuptial agreement one should retain counsel to discuss the terms, conditions and obligations in the agreement. In addition, parties to a written agreement should always be careful and understand the contents of the agreement they are signing.