The Legal Intelligencer: Disclosure and Contempt of Marital Settlement Agreement

August 16, 2022

In an article published in The Legal Intelligencer on August 16, 2022, partner and co-chair of the family law group, Michael Bertin, discusses marital settlement agreements. In the article, titled “Disclosure and Contempt of Marital Settlement Agreement,” Michael analyzed the recent case of Zabrosky v. Smithhower-Zabrosky, 273 A.3d 1108 (Pa. Super. 2022), which addresses a number of interesting issues pertaining to marital settlement agreements.

In Zabrosky, the parties entered into a marital settlement agreement referred to in the case as a “marriage settlement agreement” where under its terms, the husband “represented that he made a full and fair disclosure of his assets, and he further agreed not to remove money from the accounts set aside for the children’s post-secondary education.” Thereafter, the wife filed a “petition for contempt, to compel, and for sanctions.” In the wife’s petition, she alleged that the husband violated the terms of the agreement “when he withdrew tens of thousands of dollars from the accounts to finance his divorce and custody litigation.”

The Zabrosky case is an important case for the family law practitioner and the bench. It covers many issues that intersect with the enforcement of marital settlement agreements. It reiterates the importance of full and fair disclosure and the nuances related thereto. It also covers issues such as a waiver during a trial that are helpful for the practitioner. The Superior Court’s reversal of the trial court converting the contempt award to a child support obligation highlights a limitation on a trial court’s attempt at a creative solution.

Read the full article here.