Summary of Simeone v. Simeone
Supreme Court of Pennsylvania (1990).
Facts: P was an unemployed nurse and she was engaged to D, a neurosurgeon. On the eve of their wedding, D’s attorney presented P with a prenuptial agreement that limited D’s maximum separation or divorce payment to $25K. P signed the agreement. D and P got divorced and P started alimony proceedings against D and D claims that he has already paid payments to P that are sufficient under their prenuptial agreement.
Procedure: The lower courts ruled for D.
Issue: Was the K between P and D (the prenuptial agreement) valid and enforceable?
Rule: In Estate of Geyer, the court held that prenuptial agreement is valid if it either made a reasonable provision for the spouse or was entered after a full and fair disclosure of the general financial positions of the parties and the statutory rights being relinquished. The court in this case rejects this rule.
Rationale: According to the court, the days when women were considered to be inferior to men are long gone. Now women and men enjoy equal opportunities and the Geyer rule is a paternalistic approach that is now insupportable. Furthermore, a prenuptial agreement is just like any other K and if the court find that there was duress, fraud, or misrepresentation present when such agreement was signed, the court will rule it to be invalid. Furthermore, it is required that when prenuptial agreements are signed, parties must disclose their financial positions to each other or otherwise that will be considered misrepresentation. The P makes an argument that she was presented with the agreement the day before her wedding so she wasn’t given time to hire an attorney or to carefully go over the K. But such an argument is not supported by evidence. Evidence shows that P and D discussed the agreement months before the wedding. Affirmed.