Is a contract valid if a spouse forges a signature of the other spouse?

Asked on June 20, 2014 under Business Law, Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

It *may* be valid: the issue is whether, on the circumstances of the case, either of the following would be found to exist:

1) That it's enough for either spouse to sign, so it doesn't really matter if A signed as B or vice versa--it's a contract affecting both, and one clearly signed.

2) There is evidence that the non-signing spouse had asked/instructed/authorized the other spouse to sign his/her name for him/her (and therefore that the non-signing spouse had agreed to the terms).

Examples: Spouses are having home renovations done to their marital home; from the facts and context, it's clear that the spouses agree to the work; for some reason, spouse A signs spouse B's name (maybe they're very traditional, and the wife, A, thought it more appropriate for the husband, B, to sign a contractor agreement, but he wasn't around).

Similar to the above, but spouse A signs both names.

In either case above, a court would most likely  find the contract enforceable.

On the other hand, say that spouse A has money pre-dating the marriage, which is not joint marital property. Without A's awareness and/or consent, spouse B signs a contract for A to purchase, using that money, an expensive car B wanted or to rent an apartment in NYC which B can use for extramarital affairs. In that case, since there is good reason to believe that A did not consent and it's not for the benefit of A, a court would very likely find the contract not enforceable.

 


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.