The division of property and assets in a Marital Settlement Agreement can be contested in two ways. The first basis to challenge a Marital Settlement Agreement is for fraud, coercion or misrepresentation. The second basis to challenge a Martial Settlement Agreement is for unfairness. In a recent case captioned Hall v. Hall the Florida Court of Appeal stated that a Marital Settlement Agreement could be set aside for fraud, duress, misrepresentation, or coercion. The second basis for setting aside a Martial Settlement Agreement contains three elements. First, the spouse that wants to set aside the agreement must prove that the Martial Settlement Agreement is unfair to the recipient spouse in light of the parties’ financial circumstances. The trial court will then look at the financial situation of the parties, their ages, their education and their health. The trial court may then decide that the agreement is unfair to the recipient spouse in light of the payor spouse’s financial circumstances.
Once the trial court determines that the division of property and assets in the agreement is unreasonable, it is presumed that the payor spouse either concealed assets or that the recipient spouse did not have accurate knowledge of the payor spouse’s financial situation at the time that the agreement was entered into. The payor spouse can then defend by demonstrating that there was full disclosure to the recipient spouse or that the recipient spouse had knowledge of the approximate amount of income that the payor spouse earned and the amount of the payor spouse’s wealth. The fact that the recipient spouse made a bad deal is not sufficient by itself to defeat a Martial Settlement Agreement. The issue is whether the recipient spouse did not have adequate knowledge of the income and assets of the payor spouse at the time that the agreement was entered into.
To speak with a divorce attorney in Wellington, Florida, contact Matthew Lane & Associates, P.A. at (561) 363-3400.