Exchanging Financial Disclosure Is Necessary for ANY Domestic Contract

January 23rd, 2012 by

There are many types of domestic contracts – marriage contracts, cohabitation agreements and separation agreements are the most common types. For all types of domestic contracts, the basic requirements of contract law are necessary: the agreement must be in writing, signed by both parties and witnessed.

Even when these basic contractual requirements are met, however, your domestic contract may not be enforceable in a court of law unless these additional rules have been followed:

1. Both parties fully understand the agreement and the consequences of signing the agreement. In order to properly understand the agreement, both parties must have received independent legal advice regarding the terms of the contract;

2. Full, complete and accurate financial disclosure has been exchanged between the parties; and,

3. The agreement itself or the circumstances arising from the agreement must not be unconscionable (meaning, the agreement is so unfair, it would “shock the conscience of the court”).

Any good family lawyer will tell you from the beginning that collecting and producing your financial disclosure to your spouse is not so much an option as it is a necessity. There is, frankly, little point in spending the time and money to negotiate, draft and execute a domestic contract that will hold little weight, if any, if one party in the future decides to challenge a term or terms of the agreement. It makes more sense, from an economic, as well as from an emotional standpoint, to spend the extra time and money to arrive at an air-tight agreement that you can lean on as you begin a fresh chapter in your life.

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