When parties to a Texas divorce can reach an agreement on property division or other issues, they may be able to resolve their case more efficiently and with less hostility than can occur with prolonged litigation. In some cases, however, a party may learn information after initially agreeing to a division that that changes their position. When parties consent to an agreed judgment, their consent must exist when the court renders the judgment. They are able to revoke consent until the judgment is rendered. An agreed judgment cannot be rendered if a party has withdrawn consent. In a recent case, a husband appealed an “agreed” judgment, arguing he had withdrawn his consent before the court rendered the judgment.
According to the opinion of the appeals court, the parties got married in 2005. The wife filed for divorce in early August 2022. She expressed a belief the parties would reach an agreement on the property division, but asked for a just and right division if they did not do so. A couple of months later, she filed an affidavit stating she and the husband had entered an agreement for division of the debts and property. She further stated she had submitted an agreed decree that had been signed by both parties and contained the agreement. She asked the court to approve the agreement.
The husband filed a counterpetition, alleging the wife had breached her fiduciary duty and committed constructive fraud, waste, and conversion. He alleged she conveyed more than her own share of the community estate to enrich herself and defraud him. He alleged damages of about $100,000. He asked the court to set aside the transfer and award him damages.
The trial court rendered judgment on the agreed final divorce decree a few days later, however. The appeals court noted that the signatures were not dated, there was no oral hearing noted on the docket sheet, and no record of a hearing in the record on appeal.
The husband appealed, arguing he had signed the decree with the understanding the marital property would be divided equally but that the wife had sold property without his knowledge or consent. He argued the trial court erred in entering the decree after he withdrew consent.
Texas case law has held that a motion opposing entry of judgment or a pleading alleging revocation of consent filed before the court renders judgment withdraws consent to the judgment. An appeals court must consider if the trial court had sufficient information to put it on notice that there was a lack of consent to the judgment. The appeals court concluded that the husband’s counterpetition clearly reflected his revocation of consent to the property division on October 21, 2022. The decree was signed on October 24. The appeals court therefore concluded the property division portion of the decree was void because it lacked the husband’s consent.
The appeals court affirmed the divorce but vacated the property division as void. The appeals court remanded the case for a new trial on everything except the divorce.
Call a Dallas Divorce Lawyer
The husband’s ability to respond quickly and file his counterpetition before the court rendered his judgment enabled him to revoke his consent to the agreement. Even if you anticipate reaching an agreement with your spouse, a skilled Texas divorce attorney can help you protect your rights. Contact McClure Law Group at 214.692.8200 to schedule a consultation.