My ex husband and I lived together for several years in the house that I bought in my name after divorce. Currently the house is being rented out and there's a positive cash flow from the monthly rent payments. We both want to move on with our lives and my ex is asking for a legal document stating that I will continue to split with him the rental income and the income from the future sale of the house. My questions:
1. Will the contract signed by the witness serve as a legal document?
2. Can our son sign as a witness?
3. Will this contact be enforceable between two of us only? For instance, in case of my ex's death can someone inherit his stake?
4. What is the fastest and cost effective way to accomplish this?
Thank you for your time.
2 Answers from Attorneys
If the house is in your name only and it was purchased after the divorce why is he sharing in anything. A contract between parties does not need any witnesses to be effective. As no witness is necessary, even your son can be a witness if that is what you think is required. If you sign the contract, it will be enforceable by his estate, depending on how it is written. You could give him an income interest for his lifetime only, and if he predeceases you his interest terminates, or some other permutation of that agreement. As to the fastest way, you and he could write up what you agree to and pay nothing and suffer the consequences later or you could invest money and have an agreement drafted by a competent attorney. Pay now but save later. That is up to you.
Why would you GIVE your ex-husband a part of YOUR rent? Unless I read this wrong, you purchased the house AFTER the divorce, correct? If so, then you are the sole owner and you are the only person entitled to the rent.
To answer your questions:
1) A contract does not have to be witnessed to be enforceable.
2) See answer to 1 above.
3) A person's signature on a document tells the world that he or she agrees to the terms and agrees that those terms can be enforced against them.
4) You should hire an attorney to draft the agreement between the both of you to make sure it has all of the terms you want in the agreement.
You can call me at 312-372-5600 to discuss.