Divorce can be a complex and emotionally challenging process, particularly when it comes to dividing assets and property.
To streamline this process, many couples enter into property settlement agreements (PSAs) to determine the distribution of their marital assets and debts.
These agreements are legally binding contracts that outline the terms and conditions of property division, but unfortunately, breaches of these contracts can and do occur.
When a breach of contract happens, it is crucial to understand your rights and take appropriate action to protect your interests.
What is a Property Settlement Agreement?
A property settlement agreement, also known as a marital settlement agreement or separation agreement, is a written contract entered into by divorcing spouses.
This agreement stipulates how their property, assets, debts, and other marital interests will be divided between them.
It can cover various aspects such as the division of real estate, personal property, financial accounts, investments, retirement assets, and even child custody and support matters.
Property settlement agreements are often preferred by divorcing couples because they allow for greater control and flexibility in deciding the terms of their divorce.
They provide a comprehensive roadmap for the division of assets and responsibilities, reducing the need for court intervention and potentially contentious litigation.
Breach of Contract in Property Settlement Agreements
A breach of contract occurs when one party fails to fulfil their obligations as outlined in the agreement.
In the context of property settlement agreements, this could involve one party refusing to transfer ownership of a property, failing to pay a specified amount of money, or not complying with the agreed-upon terms regarding child custody or spousal support.
When a breach of contract occurs, it can have serious implications for both parties involved. The innocent party may suffer financial losses, emotional distress, and delays in the resolution of their divorce.
It is important to note that each jurisdiction may have specific laws governing property settlement agreements, so it is crucial to consult with a qualified solicitor who specialises in family law.
Protecting Your Rights in Case of a Breach
If you find yourself facing a breach of contract in a property settlement agreement, there are several steps you can take to protect your rights and seek appropriate remedies.
Review the Agreement. Carefully review the terms of the property settlement agreement to ensure that a breach has indeed occurred. It is essential to have a clear understanding of the obligations and responsibilities outlined in the contract.
Document the Breach. Keep detailed records of any evidence related to the breach, including communications, financial statements, and any other relevant documents. This evidence will be crucial in supporting your case if legal action becomes necessary.
Consult with an Attorney. Seek the guidance of an experienced family law attorney who can assess your situation, explain your rights, and advise you on the best course of action. An attorney will help you understand the legal options available to you and represent your interests in negotiations or court proceedings.
Attempt Mediation or Negotiation. In some cases, it may be possible to resolve the breach through mediation or negotiation. Engaging in discussions with the other party, possibly with the assistance of a mediator, can help identify the underlying issues and find mutually agreeable solutions without resorting to litigation.
Legal Remedies. If attempts at mediation or negotiation prove unsuccessful, you may need to pursue legal remedies. Your attorney can file a lawsuit on your behalf, seeking specific performance (enforcement of the contract’s terms) or monetary damages for the breach. The appropriate remedy will depend on the nature and extent of the breach and the laws of your jurisdiction.
How Can Van Eaton Help You?
We offer personalised advice and closely work with family clients, providing reassurance and support throughout the legal process. Our focus in family law includes divorce settlements, asset division, and maintenance. Our experienced lawyers in London investigate financial disputes to ensure fair settlements that reflect the true status of individuals going through divorce or separation. We can guide you through the divorce process. Find out more, here. Or, contact us on 0208 769 6739.