In a Texas divorce case, a mediated settlement agreement (MSA) that meets the requirements set forth in the Texas Family Code is binding and cannot be revoked. Furthermore, the parties are entitled to judgment on such an MSA during the court’s plenary power.
In a recent case, a husband challenged a final decree nunc pro nunc issued by the court after the original final divorce decree failed to conform to the MSA. The parties executed a binding MSA, which awarded the husband $50,000 of the wife’s 401(k). However, when the court signed the agreed final decree, it awarded him $100,000 of the wife’s 401(k). The decree noted the agreements were reached in mediation and it was “stipulated to represent a merger of a [MSA]…” No post-trial motion was filed and the court lost plenary power.
The husband later filed a Qualified Domestic Relations Order awarding him $100,000 of the wife’s 401(k). The wife moved for a judgment nunc pro tunc on the grounds a clerical error in the final decree erroneously divided the estate in a way that was not compliant with the MSA. She asked the court to correct that error. The husband argued it was a judicial error that the court could not change. The court signed a final decree of divorce nunc pro tunc awarding the husband $50,000 of the 401(k). The husband appealed.