In some cases, a party to a Texas divorce may agree to a settlement that seemingly has less-than-favorable terms. For example, a party may agree to their spouse receiving property with a higher monetary value to ensure they receive property that has personal value to them. In a recent case, a husband alleged the wife committed “fraud by nondisclosure” by entering into a Mediated Settlement Agreement (“MSA”) without disclosing that the FBI had possession of certain items that were to be awarded to him under that MSA.
Husband is Awarded Certain Items He Believes are in Wife’s Possession
The parties agreed to the MSA, which gave the wife the personal property in her possession with certain exceptions, including a laptop and cell phone. These items were explicitly given to the husband in the MSA. When the husband learned that the wife did not actually have possession of these items, he moved to set aside the MSA. The husband testified that the wife having those items was “a key factor” in his agreement to the MSA and the wife receiving so much joint property and custody of their child. He said the contents on those devices could have a negative effect on his military career. He had initially believed they were in the wife’s possession, because he had left them at the home and she had pictures and videos from the devices. He had previously petitioned for those items to be returned to him, and the wife had subsequently asked to keep all of the possessions in the marital home.
Husband Moves to Set Aside MSA – But is Denied
After he signed the MSA, the husband learned the FBI had both devices. He moved to set aside the MSA in May, arguing the wife committed fraud when she failed to disclose that she did not have the devices. The trial court denied the motion, and the husband appealed.