Family lawyers are increasingly faced with litigating family law contracts that have been drafted over the last twenty years. The suits can involve divorce decrees, agreements incident to divorce, premarital and postmarital agreements, mediated settlement agreements, informal settlement agreements, alimony agreements, collaborative law agreements, and the like.
According to the famous Federal District Judge Learned Hand, contract interpretation should be as follows: A contract has, strictly speaking, nothing to do with the personal, or individual, intent of the parties. A contract is an obligation attached by the mere force of law to certain acts of the parties, usually words, which ordinarily accompany and represent a known intent.
Contract interpretation is an important issue in agreed divorces, and in high asset contested divorces.