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Cases of Interest: Agreements
National Legal Research Group, Inc.

ALASKA: Compton v. Compton, 902 P.2d 805 (Alaska 1995).
The parties' prenuptial agreement did not prohibit transmutation of separate property into marital property.
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CALIFORNIA: Egedi v. Egedi, No. B140733 (Cal. Ct. App. Mar. 28, 2001).
Wife appealed from the judgment challenging the trial court's refusal to enforce an agreement freely and voluntarily entered into by the parties without fraud, duress, or undue influence. The agreement was typed by an attorney who informed the parties of the potential conflict of interest caused by his acting as a scrivener of the agreement.
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CALIFORNIA: D'Elia v. D'Elia, ___ Cal. App. 4th ___, 68 Cal. Rptr. 2d 324 (1997).
State securities laws do not apply to agreements between a husband and a wife dividing community property.
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FLORIDA: Vitakis-Valchine v. Valchine, No. 4D00-2013 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. Aug. 22, 2001).
The wife appealed the judgment of dissolution, entered as a result of a mediated settlement. The wife claimed duress and coercion on the part of the husband and the mediator.
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FLORIDA: Kelson v. Kelson, 675 So. 2d 1370 (Fla. 1996).
Voluntary Separation Incentive (VSI) benefits paid to a service member upon voluntary separation from the armed forces qualify as military retirement pay under a property settlement agreement that provides for division of military retirement pay, and federal law does not preclude a state court from enforcing a property settlement that is found to encompass VSI benefits.
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FLORIDA: Cox v. Cox, 659 So. 2d 1051 (Fla. 1995).
The unexecuted portions of a couple's marital settlement agreement are rendered void when the parties remarry or reconcile unless there is a specific statement in the agreement that the parties intended otherwise.
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FLORIDA: Petracca v. Petracca, 706 So. 2d 904 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1998).
An agreement settling marriage dissolution litigation is not subject to a "fair and reasonable" determination by the trial judge.
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GEORGIA: Starrett v. Commercial Bank of Georgia, ___ Ga. App. ___, 486 S.E.2d 923 (1997).
Where the parties' settlement agreement provided that the proceeds from sale of certain jointly owned property would be used to satisfy the husband's indebtedness to a bank, the bank was an intended third-party beneficiary which had standing to enforce that provision of the agreement.
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ILLINOIS: In re Marriage of Gurda, ___ Ill. App. 3d ___, 711 N.E.2d 339 (1999).
The wife's signed consent to the designation of beneficiary for the husband's IRA did not exclude the IRA from the marital estate.
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ILLINOIS: In re Marriage of Lakin, ___ Ill. App. 3d ___, 662 N.E.2d 617 (1996).
The parties' oral property settlement was not enforceable when material features of the agreement were challenged by the parties before entry of the decree.
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ILLINOIS: In re Marriage of Dunlap, ___ Ill. App. 3d ___, 690 N.E.2d 1023 (1998).
Where parties in a dissolution action enter into a stipulation as to the value and division of some portion of the marital estate, the terms of the agreement are binding upon the trial court unless it finds the stipulation unconscionable.
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INDIANA: Truman v. Truman, 642 N.E.2d 230 (Ind. Ct. App. 1994).
An oral agreement between the husband and the wife regarding the disposition of the marital estate is not binding unless it is reduced to writing and approved by the court.
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IOWA: In re Marriage of Plasencia, 541 N.W.2d 923 (Iowa Ct. App. 1995).
An advanced degree earned during marriage is not a marital asset, although its potential to increase the future earnings of the degree holder is a factor to consider when determining the equitable division of property.
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KENTUCKY: Terwilliger v. Terwilliger, 64 S.W.3d 816 (Ky. 2002).
The wife signed a separation agreement containing property division provisions, based upon the husband's representation to her that his business was nearly bankrupt, overdrawing a rate of $100,000 per day. Neither party had counsel at the time. The agreement was incorporated into a divorce decree. Less than one month later, the husband sold the business for $1.6 million.
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KENTUCKY: Shraberg v. Shraberg, 939 S.W.2d 330 (Ky. 1997).
The parties' separation agreement was properly determined to be unconscionable and set aside, where it was manifestly unfair and unreasonable in that it required the husband to pay $160,000 per year out of his annual income of $200,000.
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LOUISIANA: Barrow v. Barrow, 669 So. 2d 622 (La. Ct. App. 1996).
The husband was not entitled to reimbursement for his financial contributions to the wife's degree in nursing, where he earned nearly $2 million during the period in which she attended school and he did not expect to enjoy a higher standard of living upon her receipt of the degree.
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MARYLAND: Golden v. Golden, 116 Md. App. 190, 695 A.2d 1231 (1997).
The parties' alleged oral agreement that their property would remain separate during marriage did not contain the degree of specificity required to exclude property acquired during marriage from the marital estate.
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MASSACHUSETTS: Bracci v. Chiccarelli, 99-P-620 (Mass. App. Ct. Dec. 3, 2001).
"In 1986, the parties executed a modification agreement altering the terms of a judgment of divorce nisi entered in August, 1984. The agreement stated that it was to survive as a binding contract and not merge with any judgment.
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MICHIGAN: Gramer v. Gramer, ___ Mich. App. ___, 523 N.W.2d 861 (1994).
The husband's tort claims against the wife were barred by the release provision of the parties' property settlement agreement.
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MISSOURI: Wakili v. Wakili, 918 S.W.2d 332 (Mo. Ct. App. 1996).
The trial court was not required to approve the parties' settlement agreement, because they were no longer in agreement when the settlement was presented for approval.
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MISSOURI: Miles v. Werle, 977 S.W.2d 297 (Mo. Ct. App. 1998).
The parties' antenuptial agreement was enforceable even though it set forth a value for only one of the nine classes of listed property.
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NEW JERSEY: Massar v. Massar, 279 N.J. Super. 89, 652 A.2d 219 (App. Div. 1995).
Parties can legally agree via a separation agreement not to seek a divorce on any grounds other than no-fault, and such an agreement does not per se violate public policy. Certainly, if the parties can condone fault grounds through their behavior and thereby be limited to a no-fault divorce, they can likewise agree in writing to seek only a no-fault divorce.
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NEW YORK: Matisoff v. Dobi, 90 N.Y.2d 127, 659 N.Y.S.2d 209 (1997).
A nuptial agreement is not enforceable if it was not acknowledged as required by statute.
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NEW YORK: Matisoff v. Dobi, ___ A.D.2d ___, 663 N.Y.S.2d 526 (1997).
The parties' expressed intention to remain financially independent of each other could be considered in equitably distributing their marital property, even though their nuptial agreement was unenforceable.
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NORTH CAROLINA: Goodwin v. Webb, ___ N.C. App. ___, 568 S.E.2d 311 (2002).
The parties signed a separation agreement which waived the wife's right to dissent from the husband's will in the event of his death. Shortly thereafter, the husband died. The wife then filed an action to set the agreement aside.
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OKLAHOMA: Kittredge v. Kittredge, 911 P.2d 903 (Okla. 1995).
The parties' divorce decree was not void on the theory that it improperly divided the husband's future earnings in violation of the state equitable distribution statute, where the husband had agreed to pay the wife a percentage of his future income in lieu of property division.
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OKLAHOMA: Pavatt v. Pavatt, 920 P.2d 1074 (Okla. Ct. App. 1996).
The husband's Special Separation Benefit (SSB) was a retirement plan asset that must be divided with the wife pursuant to the parties' divorce decree.
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OREGON: In re Marriage of Bowers, 136 Or. App. 112, 900 P.2d 1085 (1995).
The couple had not impliedly modified or rescinded their antenuptial contract so as to permit separate assets to be classified as marital property.
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OREGON: In re Marriage of Yager & Yager, 155 Or. App. 407, 963 P.2d 137 (1998).
The parties' prenuptial agreement was valid even though it did not describe the precise nature and value of each listed asset.
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RHODE ISLAND: Becker v. Perkins-Becker, 669 A.2d 524 (R.I. 1996).
The enhanced earning capacity of one spouse from an advanced degree acquired during the marriage is not marital property subject to distribution upon marriage dissolution.
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SOUTH CAROLINA: Blejski v. Blejski, ___ S.C. ___, 480 S.E.2d 462 (Ct. App. 1997).
Neither the trial court's remarks from the bench nor alleged pressure by the wife's attorney amounted to duress so as to vitiate the parties' settlement agreement.
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UTAH: Estate of Anello v. McQueen, 953 P.2d 1143 (Utah 1998).
A property settlement agreement which specified that the spouses would receive their own separate IRAs constituted a sufficient renunciation of interest to deny the ex-wife any claim to the deceased ex-husband's IRA as a designated survivor beneficiary.
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VERMONT: Putnam v. Putnam, ___ Vt. ___, 689 A.2d 446 (1996).
The parties' stipulation was properly set aside as the product of duress, where the record showed that the wife feared the husband, that he had abused and threatened her, and that she was mentally exhausted and felt hopeless.
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VERMONT: Estate of Ladd v. Estate of Ladd, 20 Fam. L. Rep. (BNA) 1176 (Vt. 1994).
Husband filed for divorce in 1990, after a four-year marriage. In July 1991, the parties reached a property settlement agreement. The court incorporated the agreement into a nisi decree of divorce, entered August 12, 1991. The court rejected a motion by the husband's attorney that the nisi period should be shortened from 90 to 30 days due to the husband's ill health.
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VIRGINIA: Pelfrey v. Pelfrey, 25 Va. App. 239, 487 S.E.2d 281 (1997).
The parties' property settlement agreement was not the product of duress, where the agreement was executed nine months after the wife's suicide threats and at a time when the husband was living with another woman and was not under a doctor's care.
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VIRGINIA: Nicholson v. Nicholson, ___ Va. App. ___, 463 S.E.2d 334 (1995).
The parties' property settlement agreement, in which the wife relinquished and released all rights in the husband's property, did not constitute an express waiver of her right to a share of his foreign service retirement annuity.
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VIRGINIA: Hart v. Hart, ___ Va. App. ___, 497 S.E.2d 496 (1998).
The trial court could not include certain funds as part of the marital estate, where those funds had already been distributed according to the terms of the parties' separation agreement.
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VIRGINIA: Owen v. Owen, 14 Va. App. 623, 419 S.E.2d 267 (1992).
The parties were married in 1963 while the husband was serving in the United States Army. The parties separated in 1987. At that time the husband had been on active duty with the Army for 25 years.
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WASHINGTON: In re Marriage of Gillespie, ___ Wash. App. ___, 948 P.2d 1338 (1997).
Payments to the husband pursuant to a noncompetition agreement were his separate property because they represented payment for his premarital property.
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WEST VIRGINIA: Preece v. Preece, ___ W. Va. ___, 465 S.E.2d 917 (1995).
Even where the parties execute a written separation agreement, they must comply with the statutory requirement of financial disclosure, and the court must make a sufficient inquiry into the fairness of the agreement.
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