Skip to comments.Judge to hubby: Forget prenup, pay up
Posted on 12/30/2004 8:52:27 AM PST by Radix
In a possibly precedent-setting case, the state Appeals Court has ruled that an ex-wife is entitled to alimony even though she signed a prenuptial agreement waiving it.
Donna Austin was 37, and Craig Austin was 35 when they were married in May 1989, each for the second time. Two days before the wedding, Craig Austin presented Donna with a prenuptial agreement, which she signed, according to her attorney, Dana Curhan.
The Appeals Court upheld the portion of the prenuptial that protected assets Craig Austin had acquired before the wedding. But it said Donna Austin's waiver of alimony was not reasonable at the time she and Craig Austin signed the document.
``It was unreasonable to expect that his spouse, who then had no assets and negligible earning capacity, would contribute to the marriage by raising his child and by supporting his ability to work outside the home, with no expectation of future support, no matter how long the marriage, and regardless whether she might never acquire assets of her own,'' Justice Fernande Duffly wrote in the court's opinion.
Craig Austin's attorney, Jacob Atwood, said he will appeal the decision. Atwood said Donna Austin benefitted greatly by receiving ``hundreds of thousands of dollars'' in the division of property assets at the end of the Sandwich couple's 12-year marriage.
``I think this decision flies in the teeth of the DeMatteo case,'' Atwood said, referring to a 2002 Supreme Judicial Court decision upholding prenuptial agreements except in cases where one of the marital parties was left with an extreme hardship.
But Donna Austin's attorney said, ``The court is saying that by waiving her right to alimony, she was essentially waiving her future rights, which was not a realistic thing to do.''
That's bad. The goverment or the legal system shouldn't enforce breach of contract. What happened to the rule of law?
Tereeeeza, be afraid, be very afraid.
I am not a lawyer but unless she was under some sort of duress when she signed I do not see how this cannot be overturned.
Logic test: how is this like abortion?
What the hell is the point of a pre-nup if a judge is going to everturn it?
Why would anyone with money want to get married?
Makes sense, I guess. I don't honestly see how a man can expect a woman to stay home raising the kids, and all that related stuff, while he earns a living, then upon divorce expect her to be able to just make a living after not being in the job market for over a decade.
They didn't nullify the whole pre-nup, just a part that was certainly unreasonable, IMHO.
Love? Sorry, old-fashioned.
Presenting a prenuptual agreement just two days priot to the wedding meant she signed it under duress and the prenup should be void on that basis alone.
Can it not be argued that springing the pre-nup on her two days before the wedding was "unconscionable" ?
This may be the 2nd reason T-Rex resides in PA legally (besides the lower tax rate there).
I suppose. Could it be shown that she was in fear that if she did not sign that he would leave. That would almost be duress.
Probably depends on the legal definition of "duress". A little tougher than "is", but still necessary.
Yea, everyone's in love when they first meet, it's only after they live together for a few years it gets a bit "dicey."
Yet she voluntarily agreed to not seek alimony. Isn't a pre-nup a contact?
I haven't taken Contracts yet, but I understand that the court may rescind a one-sided contract, which this certainly was.
This is the peoples republic of mass, so really no surprise that a court should overturn a legitimate agreement. Especially one involving alimony, as the liberals really love sticking it to men.
Ah yeas GREED AND LAWYERS.... where you find one you find the other. If the Prenupt is voided by the court then there isn't a single contract that is safe from this.... This is a very bad thing.