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Prenup: No Longer Binding?

After spending nearly half a million dollars and three years fighting a bizarre prenuptial agreement, a Long Island woman has won an “unprecedented” case against her estranged millionaire husband, Peter Petrakis. Elizabeth Cioffi-Petrakis had to prove in court that she was coerced into signing the prenuptial agreement that her husband threw at her only four days before their wedding in 1998.  This left her with little to no time to dispute the contract, and being a “naive young girl,” at the time, she believed he was only trying to “protect his business” as encouraged to do so by his lawyers.

Cioffi-Petrakis says her husband promised, among other things that he would destroy the prenup upon the birth of their first child as well as adding her name to the deed of their home.  However, when none of these things came to pass, even after the birth of their three children, she began the long process of contesting the prenup.

In January, a judge ruled that she had proven “fraud by inducement.” In order to prove this, Cioffi-Petrakis had to establish a pattern of behavior by her estranged husband, showing he was not honest when she was asked to sign the prenup.

In addition to setting this precedent, one which will most likely be litigated a great deal in future similar cases, Cioffi-Petrakis started her own business, Divorce Prep Experts. Having had to explore and educate herself a great deal in areas of prenuptial law, Cioffi-Petrakis says that in providing advice from judges, mediators, divorce coaches and various other legal specialists, “Divorce Prep Experts can save lives.”

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