Wednesday, June 4, 2014
On Friday, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that a 92-year-old woman cannot lay claim to her husband’s assets after his death because they had signed a postnuptial agreement in Florida two decades earlier waiving rights to each other’s property.
The court ruled that Velma Hussemann must abide by the 1991 agreement even though Iowa does not recognize such property agreements signed by couples after they are married. Because their agreement was completed in Florida, that state’s laws apply.
Velma and her daughter, Marcella Ritter, filed a petition to claim her spousal share of her husband’s trust. They argued the postnuptial agreement cannot be enforced in Iowa because it violates the state’s public policy. However, the Iowa Supreme Court concluded the couple entered into the agreement that was legal under Florida. “In our mobile society, we doubt that parties who enter into a valid contract in their home state and live under that contract for 14 years would expect that contract to be nullified simply because they move to another state.”
See David Pitt, Iowa Court Upholds Florida Postnuptial Agreement, SF Gate, May 23, 2014.