Motion to Set Aside Divorce Decree Examples In Texas

In cases involving bills of review to set aside divorce decrees regarding division of property, courts have held that a meritorious claim is presented by proof that the petitioner "would obtain a more favorable property division on retrial." See: Martin, 840 S.W.2d at 592 (evidence showed company's financial condition was profitable, rather than precarious as represented, and had $ 6 million in retained earnings unknown to plaintiff at time of divorce); Kessler v. Kessler, 693 S.W.2d 522, 526 (Tex. App.--Corpus Christi 1985, writ ref'd n.r.e.) (evidence showed husband concealed cash deposit of $ 8,310.84); DeCluitt v. DeCluitt, 613 S.W.2d 777, 780 (Tex. App.--Waco 1981, writ dism'd) (evidence showed community estate was actually worth $ 409,562 at time of divorce in which mentally and physically ill wife had been induced to accept only $ 27,000 in money and property). Martin v. Martin, 840 S.W.2d 586, 591 (Tex. App.--Tyler 1992, writ denied) illustrates the type of proof which would suffice to present a prima facie meritorious defense by a complainant. In the divorce decree in that case, Wife received her jewels, a new Cadillac, $ 44,000 in cash and $ 3,000 per month for 120 months as contractual alimony. Martin, 840 S.W.2d at 589-90. Husband received the remainder of the property, including stock in a business he managed, which he listed as separate property worth approximately $ 2 million. Id. Wife filed a bill of review some two years later, claiming that she had suffered from severe depression during the period of the divorce, that Husband had taken advantage of her condition and threatened to seek custody of the couple's only child if she pursued discovery, and that he misrepresented that the stock was his separate property and that the company was in a precarious financial condition. Id.