This contrast between outcomes in similar situations further emphasizes the importance of carefully considering whether it is wise to include a post-emancipation support clause in a property settlement agreement or postnuptial agreement. These clauses, whether simply for child support or for college tuition, can be extremely tricky to draft, especially because so much in the future is unforeseeable. In last week’s case, the Father in Mazurek may have been able to convince the court that he should not have to pay for his child’s college expenses if he could have demonstrated that his child, for example, had a chronic addiction problem and likely was not ready to attend and excel in college. On the other hand, the Father in this week’s case, W.A.M., likely still would have been required to pay child support for his child, even if he could have proved to the exact same circumstances to the court, because there was no ambiguity in the contract language for the court to consider. Even though this may not seem fair, it is a basic tenet of contract law. Therefore, as we previously emphasized, you must carefully and thoroughly consider whether it is in your best interests to include a post-emancipation support provision in your settlement agreement.
Written by Elizabeth A. Bokermann, Esquire, associate attorney at Law Offices of Linda A. Kerns, LLC.