In the Matter of Cheryl Serodio and Arthur Perkins
Argued February 19, 2014.
Under New Hampshire procedural rule this decision is subject to motion for rehearing, as well as formal revision before publication in the New Hampshire reports.
9th Circuit Court -- Manchester Family Division.
[166 N.H. 607] Primmer Piper Eggleston & Cramer, PC, of Manchester ( Doreen F. Connor on the brief and orally), for the petitioner.
Dianne Martin, of Bedford, by brief, and Brennan, Caron, Lenehan, & Iacopino, of Manchester ( William E. Brennan orally), for the respondent.
BASSETT, J., DALIANIS, C.J., and CONBOY and LYNN, JJ., concurred.
In this interlocutory appeal from an order of the Circuit Court ( Introcaso, J.), the respondent, Arthur Perkins, challenges the court's dismissal of his motion to enforce the terms of a prenuptial agreement (Agreement). See S.Ct. R. 8. In its order granting the motion to dismiss filed by the petitioner, Cheryl Serodio, the trial court ruled that the respondent's failure to produce the original or a copy of the Agreement signed by the petitioner was fatal to his effort to enforce its terms. We reverse and remand.
We accept the statement of the case and facts as presented in the interlocutory appeal statement and rely upon the record for additional facts as necessary. See Lawrence v. Philip Morris USA, 164 N.H. 93, 95, 53 A.3d 525 (2012). The parties married in 1988. In 2010, the petitioner filed for divorce. In October 2011, the respondent moved to enforce the Agreement, attaching to his motion a copy of the Agreement that had been signed only by him, and requesting that the court schedule an evidentiary hearing. In his motion, he alleged, in part, that:
1. The Parties entered into [a] Prenuptial Agreement prior to their October 8, 1988 marriage, which Agreement identified and protected certain assets in the event the marriage ended in divorce;
2. One original document was signed by both parties and was kept in the possession of the Petitioner;
3. Petitioner claims that she is unable to locate the original document;
4. The Respondent possesses a copy of the original Prenuptial Agreement and requests that the copy be admitted as evidence of the Prenuptial Agreement should the original not be found;
5. It would be in the best interests of judicial economy to determine the validity of the Prenuptial Agreement prior to a final hearing to limit the issues to be finally determined and to enable the parties to engage in meaningful settlement negotiations . ...
The petitioner objected, stating that she did not recall signing the Agreement, and that she never possessed an original signed document. She [166 N.H. 608] further argued that, even if she had signed the Agreement, her agreement was not ...