Tag Archive for: Separation Agreement

Question:

Why does my separation agreement say “in consideration of the sum of ONE DOLLAR ($1.00), to each of the parties in hand paid by the other, the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged”?

Answer:

Mere promises are not enforceable by the court.  The court requires something more to have an enforceable contract.  Each party must give something of value to the other.  That is called consideration.

The consideration may be nominal.  “A rose, a hawk, or a peppercorn will suffice.”   Williston on Contracts.

Modern lawyers, many of whom may not even know what a peppercorn is or where to find one, have found it more convenient to make one dollar the separation agreement consideration.

Sometimes I draft a Separation Agreement, send it to the other side, and receive a response that says “My client rejects your proposal.”

Or the other side will send me a proposal and my client says, “It’s ridiculous.  I don’t like anything about it.”

Both responses leave something to be desired in moving the case forward.  So my reply is always, “What, specifically, don’t you like about it?”

This simple question seems to disengage emotion and engage logic.  Once I get the other side, or my client, going through the document item by item, we can discuss options, concessions and counterproposals.  I put these in a letter to the other side and we can then focus only on the objections, which narrows the issues to be negotiated.