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‘Fraudulently induced’ pre-nuptial agreement is void, says US appeal court

Decision opens the way for others to challenge pre-nups, say commentators

The Brooklyn Appellate Court has declared that a pre-nuptial agreement, signed in 1998 four days before the parties' wedding, is void.

Elizabeth Cioffi-Petrakis had argued that her husband, Peter Petrakis, had presented her with the agreement shortly before their wedding. She claimed that he had said that the agreement would be destroyed when they had children and that if she did not sign it, the wedding would not take place.

A Long Island court found that the agreement had been fraudulently induced. That decision has been upheld on appeal. According to US commentators, it is extremely rare for the courts to come to such a conclusion but improves the prospects of other spouses arguing likewise.

For the report in the American Bar Association journal, please click here.