Divorce is usually fraught with emotion, but in some cases, a party may be pressured to the point of duress. Duress exists when there have been threats that prevent a person from exercising their own free will. Although it is not duress when a person threatens something they have a legal right to do, duress may exist if they exhort or make improper demands of another person. An agreement signed under duress may be void. In a recent Texas divorce case, a husband alleged he was under duress when he signed the marital home over to the wife.
The parties married in 1994. During the marriage, they purchased the home. They separated in March 2017. They agreed the wife would take the home and the husband would not have to pay child support, but they never memorialized the agreement. The husband testified he changed his mind after finding out his wife was unfaithful.
The husband moved out in March 2017. The wife also filed her divorce petition that month. She testified that the husband came to the house in April, kicked in the door, and threatened to kill her, her boyfriend, and her grandmother. She reported the incident to the police.