E.N. entered into a prenuptial agreement with A.N. E.N., a woman, had been a receptionist in a law firm that handled divorce cases. The prenuptial agreement was drafted by her husband’s lawyer. She had virtually no impact in the agreement. She hadn’t read the final draft of the agreement.
Acting Supreme Court Justice Victor Alfieri, Jr., sitting in Rockland County, held “the agreement was completely one-sided.” “Plaintiff thought the purpose of the prenuptial agreement was to protect defendants’ individual and joint bank accounts. There was never any discussion between the two of them about plaintiff waiving her rights to spousal maintenance, insurance benefits, his pension or his estate should he predecease her.” The Judge went further to state “plaintiff did not see a copy of the agreement prior to signing it, nor did defendant’s attorney explain it to her prior to her signing it.”
History of Relationship
A.N and E.N met in 1994. Their engagement lasted 2 years. A.N. insisted on a prenuptial agreement prior to getting married to E.N. E.N. thought the agreement just would deal with waiving her rights to A.N.’s bank accounts which he held jointly with his mother.
A.N. had his attorney draft the prenuptial agreement. Although E.N. agreed to sign the agreement without reading it based on A.N.’s statements he would not marry her unless she signed the agreement.
A.N. filed a lawsuit against E.N. E.N. brought an action to set aside the prenuptial agreement. The Judge found that E.N. had “no input” in the prenuptial agreement’s terms. The Judge also pointed out in his decision she was not represented by counsel during the negotiations and the execution of the agreement. In the end, the Judge found, based on all the facts in the case, the prenuptial agreement should be set aside because it was unconscionable, involved over-reaching and duress.
Both parties should always be represented by a family law attorney prior to entering into a prenuptial agreement. There should also be full disclosure of assets, debts and a full explanation of the terms and conditions of the agreement by the attorneys for each of the parties prior to their executing the agreement.