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The consternation of reformation

| Apr 29, 2020 | Prenuptial Agreements |

What it takes to reform marital agreements in Florida

Couples in Florida enter into marital agreements for a variety of reasons. So long as the parties satisfy the legal requirements for creating a valid marital agreement – a prenuptial agreement in anticipation of marriage or an antenuptial agreement entered into during marriage – the agreement is binding between the parties like any other contract.

So, under what circumstances can a valid marital agreement be modified?

Scriveners’ errors

Florida courts have said that in any kind of valid agreement, including a marital one, a court may reform (amend or modify) the agreement when the person who drafted the document made a mistake resulting in terms not agreed to by the spouses. For example, a typographical error or unintentional omission of text that the parties did not notice before signing could mistakenly create an agreement within which the text does not reflect the provisions they had negotiated and agreed to.

The court’s power to modify a marital agreement under these circumstances is based on its equity powers, meaning its inherent ability to provide relief based on fairness because of the couple’s mutual mistake in signing a document that did not reflect their intentions.

Modification of support provisions of marital agreement

Florida statute provides for two situations when a court may modify support provisions in a marital agreement. The court may equitably reform the arrangement to which the parties had agreed if there has been a change of circumstances or a change in the financial situation of either party, and the change supports an amendment.

The court may not do this, however, if in the agreement the parties waived the right to have the support changed in the future.

 

 

 

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