Thank You For Submiting Feedback!
The Civil Code limits spouses' rights, before and during marriage, to renounce or alter the marital portion or the established order of succession. La. Civ. Code Ann. art. 2330. The legislature determined that these rules were rules of public order that may not be derogated by agreement. La. Civ. Code Ann. art. 2330, comment (a). Had the legislature intended to limit spouses' rights to waive post-divorce alimony in the same way, it would have made this clear. Instead, the Civil Code contains no prohibition against the waiver of post-divorce alimony.
The husband and the wife signed an antenuptial agreement. The wife filed a rule to show cause why she should not be awarded permanent alimony pursuant to La. Civ. Code Ann. art. 112 and why she should not have a car returned to her, claiming it was a gift from the husband. The trial court held the antenuptial agreement was enforceable, that the car was not a gift, and dismissed the wife's rule. The court of appeal reversed the trial court's ruling in part, holding the antenuptial agreement was against public policy and therefore void. Certiorari was granted.
Was the antenuptial agreement waiving permanent alimony null and void as against public policy?
No. The antenuptial agreement was still enforceable.
The Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals, holding that permanent alimony was not a law enacted for the public interest but to protect individuals and therefore the prohibition found in La. Civ. Code art. 7 did not apply. The Court held that the antenuptial agreements were enforceable, but were subject to the same grounds for rescission as other contracts. In this case, the wife entered into the antenuptial agreement freely and voluntarily and not under undue duress, and the trial court was not manifestly erroneous in finding that the car was not a gift to the wife.