The Legal Intelligencer: Postnuptial Agreement Invalidated on Grounds of Duress

December 17, 2020

In an article published in The Legal Intelligencer on December 17, 2020, family law partner Michael Bertin discusses postnuptial and prenuptial agreements and the necessary requirements for the formation of those agreements. Michael examines the recent case of Lewis v. Lewis, 234 A.3d 706 (Pa. Super. 2020), which is the first reported appellate decision where a spouse convinced the court to invalidate a settlement agreement on the grounds of duress. As highlighted by the Superior Court, there have been many cases where a party claimed duress, but in each case, “the courts concluded that those pressures did not constitute duress in a legal sense.” For example, a party forced to sign a prenuptial agreement on the eve of a wedding or on the church steps has been found to not be duress. In other words, “stress” is not the same as “duress.” However, in the Lewis case, the trial court invalidated the parties’ agreement on the grounds of duress.

Read the full article here.

Michael is a family law attorney who focuses his practice on child custody, child support, and divorce, including the negotiation and litigation of domestic relations cases, divorce, custody, support, alimony, property distribution, prenuptial agreements and related issues. He is immediate past-Chair of the Family Law Section of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, a member of its Executive Committee and Council (the governing bodies of the Section), and is a former chair and member of its Procedural Rules Committee, Legislative Committee, and Program Committee. Michael is a former Chair of the Family Law Section of the Philadelphia Bar Association and the current co-chair of its Custody Committee. He is a former member of the Board of Managers (the governing body) of the Pennsylvania Chapter of the AAML. Michael also serves as chair of Obermayer’s Pro Bono Committee.