In a Texas divorce, a premarital agreement is generally enforceable. Although they are presumptively valid, they may not be enforceable if they are unconscionable or were not voluntarily signed. There is no definition of “voluntary” in the Family Code, so courts have looked to the law governing enforcement of commercial contracts. In determining if a premarital agreement was voluntarily signed, the court considers whether the party had advice of counsel, misrepresentations made in procuring the agreement, the amount of information provided, and whether any information was withheld. Additionally, the court may consider evidence of duress or fraud in determining if the agreement was voluntary, but duress and fraud alone are not defenses to a premarital agreement. A court recently considered whether a Texas premarital agreement was voluntary.
The couple signed a premarital agreement the day before they got married in Las Vegas. The agreement set out the separate property of each of them and stated community property could not be acquired during the marriage.
The wife filed for divorce after ten years. The trial court granted a partial summary judgment in favor of the husband on the wife’s claims for a Separate Property Agreement, including reimbursement, maintenance, and her challenge of the premarital agreement. Following a trial, the court found the only community property accumulated during the marriage was a travel trailer. It awarded the trailer to the wife. The wife appealed, arguing the court had erred in granting the partial motion for summary judgment because there was a genuine issue of material fact as to whether she had voluntarily signed the agreement.