(CN) – A cheating husband’s agreement to pay his wife $2,600 if his “indiscretions” led to separation or divorce is not an enforceable document, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled.
After 28 years of marriage, Vergestine Cooper discovered in 2000 that her husband, Bernard, was having an affair.
In order to save the marriage, Bernard signed a contract to pay his wife $2,600 if his indiscretions led to a permanent breakdown of the marriage.
Five years later, Bernard disappeared. His family learned from the bank that he had changed his address. When Vergestine tracked Bernard down at his new apartment, he admitted that he had continued the affair.
The trial court upheld the terms of the reconciliation agreement, but the court of appeals overturned it.
In upholding that decision, the state Supreme Court cited a precedent that dated back to 1887.
In Miller v. Miller, the Iowa Supreme Court rejected a couple’s post-nuptial agreement, stating that it dealt with matters “pertaining so directly and exclusively to matters of the home” that it was not to be a matter of public policy.
“Like our predecessors, we reject the idea of injecting the courts into the complex web of interpersonal relationships and the inevitable he-said-she-said battles that would arise in contracts that can be enforced only through the probing of the marital relationship,” Justice Appel wrote.
The high court remanded for reconsideration without regard to the unenforceable contract.