(a) Contracts between husband and wife not inconsistent with public policy are valid, and any persons of full age about to be married and married persons may, with or without a valuable consideration, release and quitclaim such rights which they might respectively acquire or may have acquired by marriage in the property of each other; and such releases may be pleaded in bar of any action or proceeding for the recovery of the rights and estate so released. No contract or release between husband and wife made during their coverture shall be valid to affect or change any part of the real estate of either spouse, or the accruing income thereof for a longer time than three years next ensuing the making of such contract or release, unless it is in writing and is acknowledged by both parties before a certifying officer.
(a1) A contract between a husband and wife made, with or without a valuable consideration, during a period of separation to waive, release, or establish rights and obligations to post separation support, alimony, or spousal support is valid and not inconsistent with public policy. A provision waiving, releasing, or establishing rights and obligations to post separation support, alimony, or spousal support shall remain valid following a period of reconciliation and subsequent separation, if the contract satisfies all of the following requirements:
(1) The contract is in writing.
(2) The provision waiving the rights or obligations is clearly stated in the contract.
(3) The contract was acknowledged by both parties before a certifying officer.
A release made pursuant to this subsection may be pleaded in bar of any action or proceeding for the recovery of the rights released.
(b) Such certifying officer shall be a notary public, or a justice, judge, magistrate, clerk, assistant clerk or deputy clerk of the General Court of Justice, or the equivalent or corresponding officers of the state, territory or foreign country where the acknowledgment is made. Such officer must not be a party to the contract.
(c) This section shall not apply to any judgment of the superior court or other State court of competent jurisdiction, which, by reason of its being consented to by a husband and wife, or their attorneys, may be construed to constitute a contract or release between such husband and wife. (1871-2, c. 193, s. 28; Code, s. 1836; Rev., s. 2108; C.S., s. 2516; 1959, c. 879, s. 12; 1965, c. 878, s. 1; 1977, c. 375, s. 2; 2013-140, s. 1.)
Last modified: March 23, 2014