COA: Prenup enforceable despite missing list of wife’s excluded property

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The Hendricks Superior Court erred in throwing out a couple’s prenuptial agreement in their divorce case despite conflicting testimony over how much the wife owned before her husband filed to dissolve the marriage. The Indiana Court of Appeals on Monday remanded the case to enforce the prenup.

Shaun and Brandy Perrill were married in 2008 after meeting eight years earlier as Purdue University students. Before the marriage, the couple entered into a prenuptial agreement that shielded from the marital estate Shaun’s ownership of stock in businesses including Compatible Technologies, LLC and Moon Limited Partnership. The agreement also had an “Exhibit A,” which listed Brandy’s financial and asset information and her property to be excluded from the marital estate.

After Shaun filed for divorce in 2017, Brandy moved to determine the enforceability of the agreement, and when she received a copy, “it did not appear to be the same Agreement she signed because Exhibit A was not attached,” Judge Elizabeth Tavitas wrote for the panel.

Ultimately, Hendricks Superior Judge Robert Freese ruled the prenup unenforceable, citing the absence of the exhibit. “On the basis of this evidence, it is evident that there was no meeting of the minds between Wife and Husband” regarding the prenup, Freese found.     

This was error, the Indiana Court of Appeals held, reversing Shaun Perrill v. Brandy Perrill, 18A-DN-1616, and remanding to the trial court.

“The mere fact that Exhibit A was missing does not render the entire contract unenforceable,” Tavitas wrote for the panel.

“Exhibit A was designed to identify Wife’s specific excluded property at the time she signed the Agreement,” she wrote, adding that the court should have used parol evidence to determine what property, if any, Brandy owned prior to the marriage.

And while noting the trial court did not specifically rule the agreement between the parties was unconscionable, to the extent that it did, the panel reversed.  

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