Vermont Prenuptial Agreement

Posted by Robin Hensley

7. In the following days, the wife`s lawyer sent two draft settlement agreements to the husband`s lawyer.   The husband`s lawyer responded on 4 October with a letter proposing several changes to the project, none of which varied the terms of the project with regard to lump sum payment, quitclaim deed or the need for confidentiality.   On 7 October, the wife`s lawyer sent the husband`s lawyer a new draft containing most of the changes proposed in the 4 October letter.   Mari did not respond to this plan, and on October 22, a new lawyer filed his complaint for the husband.   Since then, the husband has claimed that he never intended to be bound by the September 23 negotiations. 13. As regards the first condition of the face, there is nothing in the facts available to indicate that the husband or wife expressly reserved the right not to be bound by the oral settlement agreement.   Mari argues that the mere fact that the parties (and the family court) expected the agreement to be finally in writing should be seen as an explicit reservation of the right not to be bound by the oral agreement.   However, we rejected such a broad rule in Catamount and we refuse to take it back now.   See Catamount, 2003 VT 112, 26, 176 Vt. 158, 845 A.2d 324 (rejection of the hypothesis of a rule in itself that agreements on composition without written form are not enforceable and that “the parties are free to conclude a binding oral contract without internalizing their agreement in a fully executed document, even if they intend to reduce their agreement a posteriori to the written form”) (addition). 14.

The explicit reservation made by the husband in this case would lead us to apply Catamount`s logic to very different facts.   At catamount, the parties submitted to binding mediation to settle several ongoing disputes between them.  Id. ¶ 2. Prior to this mediation, the judge designed, in one of the underlying cases, a “mediation agreement” stiguing that no statement made during mediation would be “binding on both parties unless they are reduced to a final settlement agreement”, as well as a pre-presentation that such a final agreement “must be in writing and signed by each party, who wishes to be charged”.  Id. ¶ 3. First, our decision in the Catamount decision was based on this explicit pre-negotiation language when we found that the parties reserved the right not to be bound until a final agreement had been established and signed in writing.

 18.   Second, we found that the parties` correspondence after mediation was “further evidence” that they thought they were not yet related.  Id. 19.   Third, and `[i]n the most compelling`, the fact that a lease necessary for the alleged oral transaction was transferred until the agreement was `final`.  Id. ¶ 20. Fill out all the marital documents on your computer screen. Contains, if applicable. An example/instructions. 17. Although the third Catamount factor – `if all the terms of the so-called treaty have been agreed` – does not weigh as strongly in favour of application, this factor also does not oppose it very strongly.

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