Brief Fact Summary. The parties, Catherine Simeone (nee Walsh) and Frederick Simeone, were engaged to be married. On the eve of their wedding, Frederick’s attorney presented Catherine with a prenuptial agreement limiting her recovery in the case of divorce to $25,000, which she signed without her own counsel or explanation from Frederick’s attorney of the legal rights surrendered. The couple divorced, and Frederick refused to pay alimony, invoking the prenuptial agreement.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Parties to a contract are bound by the agreement regardless of whether they read and fully understood the terms and irrespective of whether the agreements embodied reasonable or good bargains.
Issue. Is the prenuptial agreement binding on the parties?
Held. Yes. Ignorance as to the terms of the agreement is not a defense to enforcement. Even if the agreement did not embody a reasonable or good bargain, the parties are bound by their agreements. Here, Catherine signed the prenuptial agreement without seeking counsel or asking for explanation. She asserted that the agreement was procured under duress, because she could not have obtained counsel without postponing the wedding. In fact, even though the final draft had been presented on the eve of the wedding the parties had discussed the agreement for about six months prior to the wedding day. Catherine had ample opportunity to obtain an attorney. Since she signed the agreement, she is bound by its terms.
Once a person enters into a written agreement he builds around himself a stone wall, from which he cannot escape by merely asserting he had not understood what he was signing.View Full Point of Law