You should ALWAYS retain qualified legal counsel to represent you during your divorce. A MSA is a legally binding contract. This means both, you and your soon to be ex-spouse, will have to comply with the agreement. Thus, you should be very careful as to what you agree to otherwise you may find yourself back in Court after your divorce, facing contempt or enforcement proceedings. If your ex-spouse is NOT complying with your executed Marital Settlement Agreement, you should contact the Horton Law Group, P.A.
If a MSA is executed in your case, then the case can be set for final hearing so the Court can approve and ratify the MSA and finalize your divorce. Executing a MSA will save you time and money. If you and your spouse cannot resolve ALL issues pending in the divorce case, you can enter a partial MSA. The issues that are unresolved will be noticed for trial.
If you have entered into a Marital Settlement Agreement and you feel like you were forced into signing the agreement, you should contact the Horton Law Group, P.A. immediately.
There are grounds in which the Court will find for the modification of a martial settlement agreement or even for the vacating of the Martial Settlement Agreement. The Florida Supreme Court in Casto v. Casto has held that there are two separate grounds by which either spouse may challenge a marital settlement agreement and have it vacated or modified. The first ground is “fraud, deceit, duress, coercion, misrepresentation, or overreaching.” Casto v. Casto, 508 So. 2d 330, 333 (Fla. 1987) (internal citations omitted). The second ground to vacate a settlement agreement is where “the agreement makes an unfair or unreasonable provision for the challenging spouse, given the circumstances of the parties.” Id.
Buyer’s remorse or “a bad bargain” is not a sufficient ground, by itself, to vacate or modify a settlement agreement.” Id. at 334. The Florida Supreme Court states: “[a] bad fiscal bargain that appears unreasonable can be knowledgeably entered into for reasons other than insufficient knowledge of assets and income. There may be a desire to leave the marriage for reasons unrelated to the parties’ fiscal position. If an agreement that is unreasonable is freely entered into, it is enforceable. … The critical test in determining the validity of marital agreements is whether there was fraud or overreaching on one side, or, assuming unreasonableness, whether the challenging spouse did not have adequate knowledge of the marital property and income of the parties at the time the agreement was reached.” Id.
The Court will approach issues regarding martial settlement agreement differently depending on the time in which the marital settlement agreement was entered. In Casto analysis applies only to agreements entered into prior to litigation and discovery. The Florida Supreme Court in Macar went on to state how this is the case “because before spouses file for dissolution, they engage each other as fiduciaries and as such, fraudulent behavior may be perpetrated more easily. After a legal action has been initiated, however, both parties may employ counsel to engage in the discovery process to disclose all assets and relevant factors. Given the benefits available in contested legal actions, an [ex-spouse] should not be permitted to challenge settlement agreements in final judgments under an umbrella as broadly based as those expressed in Casto.” Macar v. Macar, 803 So. 2d 707, 713 (Fla. 2001). The Macar Court went to state that it is Rule 1.540 of the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure and not Casto that provides the framework for challenging settlement agreements entered into after the commencement of litigation and utilization of discovery procedures. Id.
If you want to challenge the validity of your Marital Settlement, you should retain qualified and aggressive legal counsel.
Why Hire the Horton Law Group, P.A?
- You should know your rights under Florida law so you can decide whether signing a Marital Settlement Agreement.
- Having qualified and aggressive legal counsel on your side during divorce negotiations can save you months of litigation and tens of thousands of dollars in litigation fees.
- Having qualified and aggressive legal counsel prepare your Marital Settlement Agreement and discuss the terms with you before you sign, can save you months of litigation and tens of thousands of dollars in post judgment matters, such as contempt and enforcement proceedings.
- If you feel you have been wronged by executing a Marital Settlement Agreement and you would like qualified legal counsel to review the document and advise you of your rights, you should contact a qualified member of our team today.
- In addition to drafting your Martial Settlement Agreement, the Horton Law Group, P.A. can also assist you with your estate planning and asset protection needs.
The principal partner at the Horton Law Group, P.A., Attorney Sommer C. Horton, is an experienced and aggressive litigator. She is highly regarded for her creativeness, strategic judgment, and her uncanny ability to deliver persuasive legal arguments in the courtroom. She has a tremendous skill for being an aggressive advocate for her clients, while being one who understands and appreciates how trying litigation can be, thus, she is extremely sensitive to her clients’ needs. Ms. Horton is passionate about the law and believes in seeking justice for her clients in an ethical and economic manner. Ms. Horton fights for each one of her clients, every step of the way. If the case cannot be settled out of court, Ms. Horton will be litigating your case at trial. The Horton Law Group, P.A. is a boutique civil litigation law firm that only takes on a limited number of cases so that personal attention can be given to every client. Make the right call – schedule a free 30-minute consultation with Ms. Horton. You can make an appointment by calling 561-299-0018 or emailing email@example.com.
Ms. Horton is passionate about the law and believes in seeking justice for her clients in an ethical and economic manner. Ms. Horton fights for each and every one of her clients – every step of the way. Ms. Horton will spend time with you to make sure you understand the law, understand your rights and she will draft your prenuptial agreement for you so that you and your estate are protected. In addition, she can assist you with your business planning, estate planning and asset protection needs too.