Some unusual drafting in the pre-nuptial agreement signed by James and Judy Newman just before they got married in 2007: a handwritten addition stated that ‘there are certain ambiguities contained [within] the body of this document which each party agrees to clarify and re-write within 30 days of the date of execution hereof’. Judy filed for divorce four years after signing, and wanted to enforce the pre-nup’s provisions on dividing up their property. James argued that the handwritten language made the rest of the document an unenforceable agreement to agree.
The Supreme Court of Georgia agreed that a mere agreement to agree would be unenforceable, but didn’t think the pre-nup fell in that category: Newman v Newman (SC Ga, 1 October 2012). Nothing in the rest of the document indicated that it was ‘incomplete or tentative’ at the time of execution, James could not identify any essential term that was left to future negotiation and the contract as a whole appeared to contain all the key terms of the couple’s bargain (including how their property was to be divvied up on divorce). This left the court to conclude that it was some non-essential term that had been left to be resolved, but nothing that rendered the agreement as a whole unenforceable.