Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Another strike against marriage?

At first glance, it appears a contract is no longer a contract if state marriage is involved:
A Long Island mother of three has become a postnuptial hero, after a prenup nearly cost her everything. In a landmark case, Elizabeth Cioffi-Petrakis, 39, won an appeal overturning a bizarre premarital agreement with her millionaire husband. Now she says she may be entitled to half of her ex’s worth when their divorce becomes final.
However, if one read the article, it is readily apparent that isn't actually the case.  A contract induced by fraud is intrinsically invalid.

56 comments:

Anonymous said...

This wasn't a case of fraud: the guy didn't misrepresent anything.

It was a case of duress. Contracts can be voided for duress. The guy waited until after the Brides father spent all the money on their wedding and everybody was invited before he gave her the prenup ultimatum.

New rule going forward seems to be make sure she signs the prenup before you plan the wedding.

Johnycomelately said...

Duress after a 6 year relationship?

When I bought my car the dealer said it was the last one on the lot, do you reackon I can get my money back?

Anonymous said...

There was no fraud or duress. The reality is that women can't be held to contracts because they will always play the victim. And traditional and feminist law women recognizes them as children: contracts still bind the other party, and the state can even infer additional obligations for the protection of the woman-child, but the woman-child can't be held responsible for anything.

Brian said...

"I loved him, I'd do anything for him" = "He coerced me!" Yeah, ok. She just wanted to have her cake (wedding) and eat it (his wallet, house, etc.), too.

Michael said...

Vox explained this a long time ago: "Women are children".

They can't be held responsible for their actions. They can't be party to a contract.

Oh, but they're strong, independent, and empowered.

Will Best said...

This isn't new. These cases go back as far as prenups. I don't think this even pushes new ground. Sounds to me like the guy either didn't hire a lawyer to draft the prenup and guide him in delivering it or he didn't have a competent attorney.

The Aloof Guy said...

All things being equal, dropping a prenup on her 4 days before the wedding isn't the most alpha thing in the world.

Admittedly, I don't see how it's fraud to pin the thing on her 4 days before the wedding. After all, she could have just walked away.

taterearl said...

Duress????

Did he have a gun pointed at her head? Is she aware of the term "no" in the English language?

VD said...

No, the fraud was in the failure to put the house in her name and not ripping up the prenup after the child was born.

Given that the guy was in real estate during the mortgage fraud boom, I have no problem believing her version, especially given the timing of the prenup and all.

Sigyn said...

The media misrepresents something; are we surprised?

Did he have a gun pointed at her head? Is she aware of the term "no" in the English language?

There are more ways to make someone do something than with threats of immediate death, Earl.

DrTorch said...

"No, the fraud was in the failure to put the house in her name and not ripping up the prenup after the child was born."

Fraud, or he simply violated the agreement.

Anyway, I had exactly the same thoughts when I saw this headline and read the article.

taterearl said...

"There are more ways to make someone do something than with threats of immediate death, Earl."

Well she didn't say anything about being threatened. Other than getting this put on her 4 days before getting married...she certainly had the option to push the wedding back.

Me thinks the only threat was she would miss out on her opportunity to live a comfortable life as a gold digger.

Mike T said...

You don't wait until until 4 days before the wedding in a situation like this unless your motive is to use the bride's family's financial commitment as a weapon to affect her judgment. The courts have a duty to shut down contracts that are fraudulent (as VD points out) and that are contracted by parties who behave in bad faith.

Rip said...

As VD said, the fraud was in his lying to her about what would happen with the prenup after they had children. The damned headline is very misleading.

Anonymous said...

You don't wait until until 4 days before the wedding in a situation like this unless your motive is to use the bride's family's financial commitment as a weapon to affect her judgment.

I'm sorry, I don't see where you mentioned the option to cancel the wedding for bad faith and sue the potential groom for false representation. The point being, they had that option, and instead decided to accept the last-minute condition, sign the contract and go ahead with the wedding.

The courts have a duty to shut down contracts that are fraudulent (as VD points out) and that are contracted by parties who behave in bad faith.

No, the issue is that the husband himself did not abide by the terms of his own agreement, as Vox pointed out. Last-minute = bad faith or not, the contract itself should have been valid, and was accepted as such at the signing. If the bride and/or her family had any doubts, they should have delayed or refused at that time.

SarahsDaughter said...

The most appalling of this whole situation is the million plus that has lined the pockets of the flippin lawyers.

Jimmy said...

You don't spring prenuptial contracts at the last minute. You don't give a reason for the judge to reject an agreement.

Nonetheless, I found the ex's claim that she will get half of her ex's worth to be rather bogus. She only gets half of what was acquired during the marriage. Nothing more.

Sigyn said...

she certainly had the option to push the wedding back.

Sometimes you can't. A friend of mine got married, and most of her groom's family flew in from out of state a week before the wedding, to enjoy some tourist time.

Often, venues are booked solid for months or even years ahead of time. Vendors and others will usually have cancellation clauses that make you pay the entire amount, or a hefty part of it, if you cancel within so long of the date.

"Pushing the wedding date back" is a massively expensive undertaking if you're too close to the intended date--and the higher profile you are, the worse it gets.

Don't be so quick to judge.

Sigyn said...

I'm sorry, I don't see where you mentioned the option to cancel the wedding for bad faith and sue the potential groom for false representation. The point being, they had that option, and instead decided to accept the last-minute condition, sign the contract and go ahead with the wedding.

That's called a "scorched earth option"--as in, you don't go there unless you're prepared to scotch the whole relationship. I'm not sure if you've ever been enough in love to get married, but four days from the wedding is NOT the time when you're going to be ready to let go of the whole thing over the potential to get ripped off in a divorce you can't even imagine happening.

Yes, it's a possible "option", but who in the universe is going to take it who isn't a complete ass or not in love?

Sigyn said...

Nonetheless, I found the ex's claim that she will get half of her ex's worth to be rather bogus. She only gets half of what was acquired during the marriage. Nothing more.

Depends on the jurisdiction, I'd guess. From what I've heard, in most jurisdictions, men should consider themselves lucky if they don't end up chained to an oar in a galley with only a dirty loincloth to their names.

But, y'know, that's what I've heard.

Trust said...

Great roissy quote today. Women want "alpha fux and beta bux."

Anonymous said...

The article gives her side. Three sides to every story babe, yours and mine and the cold hard truth.

What did she tell him five days before the wedding?

What are neither of them telling anyone?

Family law always involves the breakdown of a family. Families are the basis of morality. When they go, morals go. Family law is always rancid.

Sigyn said...

What did she tell him five days before the wedding?

What could she tell him that would justify what he did? I'm curious where you're coming from.

Anonymous said...

>'What could she tell him that would justify what he did?'


'You aren't man enough to make me sign a pre-nup.'

'Don't worry, I'm not going to turn into my mother.'

'. . . Especially after a bachelorette party like THAT.'


More likely, something quietly shameful that would degrade both of us to know. Not saying he's the good guy. I'm saying family law is icky.

Retrenched said...

The real takeaway from this story for me is that there are, even now, still thousands of men who are naive enough to believe that a prenup will protect them from divorce theft. You'd think men would know better than to trust the family courts for justice by now, but apparently not.

Anonymous said...

"No, the fraud was in the failure to put the house in her name and not ripping up the prenup after the child was born."

Actually, this wasnt in the prenuptual, legal, written, SIGNED agreement. This is just what she said HE said HE would do, afterwards.
But there is no record of his saying this or putting it in the prenup. Her arguement is that she signed the contract on the basis that he said he would make changes later. Not only is HER statement of his promise not backed up in writing, but she signed the prenup that had NONE of those conditions in it.

Duress my ass. She didnt like the deal after she signed it and got the court to overrule it based on a he said/she said, even when he had it in writing and she had a solemn vow. Court should give her vow the same respect she showed her marriage vows.

Sigyn said...

'You aren't man enough to make me sign a pre-nup.'

That's a reason to make a promise you've no intention of keeping?

'Don't worry, I'm not going to turn into my mother.'

You know her mother?

'. . . Especially after a bachelorette party like THAT.'

That sounds like a better reason to call the whole wedding off--y'know, cut your losses--rather than playing some kind of weird legal game, but I guess I'm just an evil woman. You guys know what you're doing, amirite?

Sigyn said...

The real takeaway from this story for me is that there are, even now, still thousands of men who are naive enough to believe that a prenup will protect them from divorce theft.

Well, if that's what you're determined to think is the point of all this, have fun feeling vicariously victimized.

Anonymous said...

>"You aren't man enough to make me sign a prenup."
'That's a reason to make a promise you have no intention of keeping?'

That's Game On, lady.

>'You know her mother?'

He did.

>'That sounds like a better reason to call the whole wedding off -you know, cut your losses, rather than play some kind of weird legal game, but I guess I'm just an evil woman. You guys know what you're doing, amirite?'

You are wrong. Nobody knows what they are doing. Neither of us knows what happened in this case, or any other family law case, or wants to. Family law is one sordid fiasco -where everyone is stupid and dishonest and worse, and much, much worse- after another. Trust me, I'm an evil man.

But, 'amirite'? Damn, angel retard, SPELL.

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