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JOAN GULA v. JOHN GULA (12/07/88)

decided: December 7, 1988.

JOAN GULA, APPELLANT,
v.
JOHN GULA, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Schuylkill County, Civil at S-1122-1981.

COUNSEL

Bruce E. Cooper, Harrisburg, for appellant.

Kelly, Popovich and Hoffman, JJ.

Author: Popovich

[ 380 Pa. Super. Page 251]

This is an appeal from an order entered on February 9, 1988 by the Schuylkill County Court of Common Pleas which dismissed the appellant's exceptions to the Master's report and adopted his recommendation that the parties' 1971 ante-nuptial agreement is valid and enforceable.*fn1 We affirm.

Herein, the appellant, Joan Gula, alleges that the parties' ante-nuptial agreement is invalid and unenforceable because: 1) the agreement did not make reasonable provision for her; and 2) the agreement did not make a full and fair disclosure. More specifically, she alleges that the agreement does not disclose the statutory rights created by the Divorce Code of 1980 which she relinquished in the event of a separation or divorce. We find that the agreement made a full and fair disclosure. Consequently, we, too, find that the ante-nuptial agreement is valid and enforceable.

The record reveals that, following an extended relationship during which one child was born and another was conceived, Joan and John Gula married on July 2, 1972. Eventually, the marriage failed, and, on July 20, 1981, the appellant instituted divorce proceedings. Thereafter, the appellee, John Gula, interposed their ante-nuptial agreement as a defense against the appellant's related claims for equitable distribution and alimony.

The ante-nuptial agreement was signed by the parties on December 21, 1971. The agreement provided, inter alia, that, upon the appellee's death, the appellant would receive $5000.00 as full satisfaction of all claims, statutory or otherwise, against the appellee's estate. The agreement specifically stated that a full and fair disclosure of the

[ 380 Pa. Super. Page 252]

    extent and value of their respective estates and current assets was made. Further, the agreement valued the appellee's business and personal assets between the sums of $90,000.00 and $130,000.00; however, no itemization of the assets was included as a part of the agreement. The agreement included the following addendum which is the focal point of this appeal:

It is further agreed between HUSBAND and WIFE that in the event that a final decree in divorce is entered at anytime between HUSBAND and WIFE, or if HUSBAND and WIFE become separated, that the rights of each of the parties shall be the same as stated within the Antenuptial Agreement, to which this addendum is attached on the date above mentioned, to wit, five thousand dollars upon the death of HUSBAND to WIFE and nothing from WIFE's estate.

After a hearing, the Master found that: 1) $5000.00 upon the appellant's death was not reasonable provision for the appellee, a dependent spouse; and 2) full and fair disclosure of the appellee's assets had been made. Accordingly, the Master upheld the validity of the ante-nuptial agreement. The lower court agreed that the ante-nuptial agreement was valid and enforceable, and this appeal followed.

Recently, in In re Estate of Geyer, 516 Pa. 492, 533 A.2d 423 (1987) (Plurality), our Supreme Court dealt with the issue of the enforceability of ante-nuptial agreements. The Geyer Court quoted extensively from their lead decision of In re ...


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