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If Your Ex-Spouse Agrees To Supporting Your Decision To Stay Out Of The Workforce, It Is Not The Court’s Place To Interfere

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Individuals have the right to enter into contracts agreeing to conditions of their choosing, and as long as they are not agreeing to do anything illegal, the courts will enforce these contracts.  The court may refuse to enforce a prenuptial agreement if it is unconscionable, although fraud and duress are usually involved in cases where the court nullifies prenups, in addition to unconscionable terms.  Florida’s equitable distribution laws mean that, when divorce cases go to trial, the court divides the marital property in a way the court deems fair; in many cases, though, the court simply signs off on a marital settlement agreement (MSA) where the parties, with the help of a mediator, are the ones who decided the fairest way to divide their marital property.  If, after the court finalizes your divorce, you decide that your MSA is unfair, you probably will not get very far with the appeals court.  Whether your divorce has been finalized yet or not, a Boca Raton divorce lawyer can advise you on what to do given your current situation.

If You Agree to a Raw Deal, the Court Will Not Bail You Out

Michael and Barbara were married for 26 years.  Michael was an electrical engineer, and by the time of the divorce, his income was approximately $13,000 per month.  Early in the marriage, Barbara worked as a retail store manager, but she left the workforce in 1994 when the parties’ oldest child was born.  She occasionally held part-time jobs, most recently in 2005 when she worked as a preschool teacher.  When the parties divorced in 2012, Barbara was 54 years old.

Following mediation, the parties executed a marital settlement agreement in which Michael would pay Barbara $4,500 per month in alimony for eight years.  When the alimony ended, Barbara would be 62 years old and eligible to draw Social Security income.  Shortly after the divorce, Michael lost his job, and although he found other employment afterward, his new job did not pay as much as his previous one.  He petitioned the court to modify the alimony award.  The court modified the alimony amount to $2,600 per month; it based that amount in part on imputing minimum wage income to Barbara.

Barbara appealed the trial court’s decision to modify the alimony award.  She argued that the MSA did not impute income to her.  The parties assumed, when they signed the MSA, that Barbara would not return to the workforce, and it was not the trial court’s place to interfere with that decision.  The appeals court reversed the trial court’s decision and remanded the case for further proceedings.

Let Us Help You Today

Even if your divorce process was mostly amicable, a divorce lawyer can help you resolve conflicts with your ex-spouse that arise after the divorce has become final.  Contact Schwartz | White for a consultation today.

Resource:

scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=13031434492528011547&q=divorce+teacher&hl=en&as_sdt=4,10&as_ylo=2011&as_yhi=2021#p652

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