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Marital Agreements Must Be Followed to Be Enforced

"The litigation has lasted longer than the marriage."

Many couples choose to enter into a pre-marital agreement that sets out some of terms of their marriage, including what is and isn’t considered “separate property.”

Such agreements can be helpful in the unfortunate event of a divorce — but only if the couple abides by those agreements. If one or both members of the marriage treat one person’s separate property as if it were community property, then it risks becoming community property in the eyes of the court.

This was illustrated by the 2020 decision in Michelena v. Michelena, 2020 WL 1303234, (Tex. App. – Corpus Christi). This ruling holds that the husband’s frequent deposits of community property into an account the pre-nuptial agreement stated was his separate property so comingled the account that the account was found to be community property at the time of the parties’ divorce.

The Michelenas’ #PrenuptialAgreement provided that all accounts in the name of one spouse were presumed to be the separate property of the spouse whose sole name was on the account. During the marriage the husband deposited into an account in his sole name, his wages from various jobs over the years during the marriage, the proceeds of a loan obtained during the marriage on community credit, and the settlement of a lawsuit. Furthermore, he used the account as the primary account for handling community affairs during the marriage.
You can probably see where this is going.
Carol Wilson
Carol Wilson provides expertise, focus and compassion in times of family turmoil, having skillfully litigated and tried complex divorce, property division, and child custody cases for more than 30 years.

She has been Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization since 1992. Subscribe to the firm's newsletter here.

A Client's Perspective

"Through the most difficult time in my life, Carol was a strong, knowledgeable, compassionate and steady presence that helped me navigate the many challenges I faced. She was empathetic and caring but also tough, telling me plainly when I had to make difficult choices. She always returned my emails and phone calls promptly and made me feel like I was a priority. I'm really grateful that she and her team were there for me."
- Michael, a former client

Join Me at the ASC Annual Luncheon

Hope Supply Co. logo
Attorneys Serving the Community, a volunteer organization of Dallas legal professionals, is sponsoring its 34th annual luncheon on Friday, June 25. The virtual event benefits ASC's 2020-2021 beneficiary, Hope Supply Co., which provides critical support —
such as diapers, clothing, and school supplies — to homeless and at-risk children in the Dallas area.

I have been a proud member of Attorneys Serving the Community for many years and was a sponsor of the 2021 Heart & Sole 5K, which, like the luncheon, raises funds for Hope Supply.

Because of economic losses caused by the pandemic, demand for Hope Supply's services have skyrocketed in the last year. Please consider supporting Hope Supply at whatever level you can. And, of course, we'd love to see you at our annual luncheon, which features a keynote address by Olympic gold medalist and FIFA World Cup Champion Abby Wambach. Buy tickets here. 

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