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Nassau County Family Law Blog

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Pre-Divorce Agreement Between Spouses Found Unenforceable

Do courts always enforce agreements made between spouses before divorce?

When couples hit a rough patch in their marriage, they begin to prepare for the day that they will be divorced. This usually involves making certain agreements with one another that will help them to transition smoothly. Unfortunately, sometimes these agreements don’t hold up in court. Recently, an agreement made between a husband and wife prior to their divorce was called into question by a New York court.

In 2014, a man (whose name was not revealed) entered into an agreement with his then wife to pay rent for their two adult children until the children turned 30. The man’s obligation would end if the child married or lived with his or her significant other for 6 months or more. It seems the couple entered into this agreement in order to attempt to preserve their somewhat rocky relationship. Unfortunately, the effort was in vain, and the couple divorced 2 months later.


The agreement was then called into question by the Nassau County Supreme Court where the couple’s matrimonial case was being adjudicated. After reviewing the agreement, Judge Sharon Gianelli decided that the agreement could not be enforced because it lacked consideration. Specifically, the judge found that the wife did not have to do anything in exchange for the husbands promise. The wife’s argument, specifically that she had to wait a period of time before filing for divorce in exchange for her husband’s promise, was rejected by the court.

This case demonstrates that you must be diligent when entering into agreements with your soon to be ex-spouse. You want to be sure that the court will recognize the agreement and that its terms will be enforced. If you and your spouse are considering divorce, you need a skilled matrimonial attorney by your side.


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