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Man could be on hook for millions after prenup agreement nixed

For couples in Texas who are going through a divorce, one of the main points of contention may be property division. Especially for families with a high net worth, battles over assets may be paramount. In some situations, particularly in high-asset divorces, there may be a prenuptial agreement in force that might dictate many of the terms of the settlement.

Most of the time, the existence of a prenup means most people won't challenge the terms of a divorce in court. However, a recent case ruled on by an appellate court in New York created a situation that is relatively rare. The court threw out a prenuptial agreement.

The case stems from a couple who were married in 1998. According to the wife and her attorney, the husband asked the wife to sign a prenup that stated that any assets the couple obtained during the marriage would be his in the event of a divorce. The woman would only be guaranteed $25,000 for each year that the couple stayed married.

However, she was reluctant to sign the agreement. According to the attorney, she only relented after the man agreed the deal would be torn up after the couple had children. Prenups are usually only disqualified in cases of fraud or some other kind of malfeasance by one party.

This was enough for the appellate court to throw out the agreement. If it is ultimately upheld, the decision will have serious financial ramifications. According to estimates, the man is worth somewhere between $20 million and $30 million.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Elizabeth Petrakis, Millionaire's Wife, Gets Prenup Thrown Out," Katherine Bindley, March 12, 2013

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