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C HAPTER 15 T HE S TATUTE OF F RAUDS W RITING R EQUIREMENT A NSWER TO C RITICAL A NALYSIS Q UESTION IN THE F EATURE C ONTEMPORARY L EGAL D EBATES —W HERE D O Y OU S TAND ? (P AGE 285) Some observers argue that enforcing prenuptial agreements when both parties did not have the advice of independent counsel unduly burdens the financially weaker party to the marriage, customarily the woman. Others contend that allowing financially successful future spouses to protect their assets encourages more marriages to take place. Clearly, the courts are divided on the issue of whether prenuptial agreements should be upheld despite the lack of independent counsel by both parties. Should the advice of independent counsel be a requirement for a valid prenuptial agreement? What is your position on this issue? Yes,  independent   counsel   should   be   a  requirement because, as the introduction to this question states, the absence of independent  counsel can result in an undue burden on the financially weaker party to the marriage. No,  independent counsel should not be a requirement because if it were, as the introduction to  this questions states, there would be less protection of future spouses’ individual assets,  which would discourage marriages. A NSWER TO Q UESTIONS AT THE E NDS OF THE C ASES C ASE 15.1—(P AGE 281) W HAT I F THE F ACTS W ERE D IFFERENT ? Would an oral agreement between Sawyer and Mills to begin the bonus’s installment payments on a certain date—July 1, 2008, for example—and complete them no later than fifteen months from that date have been outside the one-year rule of the Statute of Frauds?   Yes, because the  agreement could have  been completed within a year, with no contemplation from the  parties that it definitely would not be completed outside of a year, removing the agreement  from the Statute of Frauds. Even if the installment payments had exceeded the fifteen- 115
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116           UNIT THREE:  CONTRACTS AND E-CONTRACTS month limit, the agreement would not have fallen within the Statute of Frauds, because at  the agreement’s inception, the parties would not have contemplated that the payments  would take that long and it would have been possible for the payments to be completed  within twelve months. In the  Sawyer  case, however, the parties expected and agreed from  the beginning that their obligations would surpass one year with the installment payments  spread across 107 months. T HE L EGAL E NVIRONMENT D IMENSION Sawyer contended that the writing requirement of the Statute of Frauds was met through the combination of the recording of the parties’ conversation and the checks Mills signed to Sawyer totaling $165,000. Obviously, the court did not agree. Why not?   Among other things,  the 
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  • Fall '13
  • statute

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Christopher Reinemann
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