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So I realize now that I probably should have clarified this at the time, but in my divorce agreement, I am obligated to make a payment monthly, "until September 1, 2021". I read this as "up to but not including September 1", meaning that my last payment would be in August, where September 1 is the first day that I am no longer obligated to make monthly payments. However, in plain english, this might be ambiguous. I would think that there's a definitive answer for this when speaking legally.

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  • Even if we restrict to English speaking countries, I suspect that both the opinion about the ambiguity itself and the way to resolve such a possible ambiguity may depend on jurisdiction, so I suggest to add that yours Mar 30 at 17:46
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The default meaning is exclusive, but this can be overridden if a contrary intent of the parties is evident. However, the actual textual context (of the agreement) is not irrelevant, e.g. the actual sentence that it appears in. Additionally, there are obscure dialect difference that could be relevant, so I assume standard US or UK English.

Given the full sentence in which "until" appears, the intended meaning (over-elaborated) is "However, if the Husband vacates the apartment prior to September 1, 2021 he shall be obligated to pay to the Wife only the monthly rent which is owed for the period prior to September 1, 2021". The recurring obligation is for occupancy of the apartment, so if you have moved before the 1st, the obligation is finished with the last month's payment, presumably remitted in August. Clearly, you do not have to keep paying monthly rent every day up to Sept. 1, so "until" refers to the termination of the rent obligation.

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  • The full sentence is, "However, if the Husband vacates the apartment prior to September 1, 2021 he shall be obligated to pay the Wife the monthly rent until September 1, 2021." Mar 30 at 17:53
  • That this payment is conditioned upon the husband leaving "prior to" September 1, 2021, I would think that user6726's answer is correct for your case, i.e., the payments continue up to but not including September 1. If instead of "prior to" it had read "on or before", for instance, that might change my mind.
    – Patrick87
    Mar 30 at 18:04
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    Other possible contextual clues: If rent for occupancy from Aug 1 to Aug 31 was due on September 1, I might interpret this as meaning that the September 1 payment is included. If paying rent on September 1 resulted in exactly 13 (or 1 more than a multiple of 12) post-divorce payments, I'd probably assume payment on September 1 was not required. If paying rent on September 1 resulted in exactly 12 (or other multiple of 12) post-divorce payments, I'd probably assume that payment on September 1 was required.
    – Brian
    Mar 30 at 19:48
  • I would interpret "rent until September 1, 2021" that rent is to be paid for Sept 1st, but not Sept. 2nd until Sept. 30th, so one day's rent, about 1/30th of the monthly rent. So the removal van comes on Aug 31st, the wife spends Sept 1st. to check out the rooms, throw out things left behind etc. and cannot use the rooms, so rent is due for that day.
    – gnasher729
    Mar 31 at 10:07

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