This morning, the Third Court of Appeals issued an opinion in an interesting case not normally within our area of interest, but which is worth mentioning nonetheless. The opinion, written by Justice Henson, describes the legal confusion which ensues when a couple begins to divorce and executes a mediated divorce settlement agreement but then does not consummate the divorce. In this case, the soon-to-be-ex-wife died the day before the hearing to enter the final divorce decree was to occur. Her (putative?) widower, of course, argues that since the decree was never signed, he remained her beneficiary and entitled to the share of their property to which he would have been entitled had the marriage not gone south years earlier. The other would-be heirs, of course, did not agree.
Sorting through all this, the Court (sensibly, it seems to us, as non-family lawyers) explains that the Family Code and opinions interpreting it actually provide a fairly clear answer in this case of first impression.
Spiegel v. KLRU Endowment Fund, ___ S.W.3d ___ (Tex. App. – Austin 2007) (Cause No. 03-06-00593-CV)