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Haynes v. Haynes

Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourth District, San Antonio

May 31, 2017

Justin V. HAYNES, Appellant
v.
Alicia Bryan HAYNES, Appellee

         From the 166th Judicial District Court, Bexar County, Texas Trial Court No. 2012-CI-14023 Honorable David A. Canales, Judge Presiding.

          Sitting: Sandee Bryan Marion, Chief Justice Rebeca C. Martinez, Justice Luz Elena D. Chapa, Justice

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Rebeca C. Martinez, Justice.

         Justin V. Haynes appeals the trial court's judgment awarding Alicia Bryan Haynes's indemnity under the parties' post-nuptial agreement. We affirm in part and reverse in part.

         Background

         Justin and Alicia married in March 2003. A year later, they executed a post-nuptial contract called the Marital Agreement. In the Marital Agreement, Justin and Alicia agreed that, in the event of a dissolution of the marriage: (1) there would be no community property; (2) neither party would be entitled to reimbursement; and (3) each spouse would indemnify the other if the separate property debt of one spouse was paid with the separate property funds of the other. Section V of the Marital Agreement, which is titled "Debts, " provides:

A. Related to Separate Property. A party may owe and be liable for certain debts, obligations or expenses which were contracted or are to be contracted by that party in connection with his or her separate property. The known financial obligations of each party are set forth on the appropriate Schedule attached hereto. Each party agrees that any and all debts, obligations or expenses, including those not listed on a Schedule, any renewals or extensions thereof, and any subsequent debts, obligations, or expenses incurred in connection with his or her separate property, together with any interest on such debts, obligations, or expenses are to be paid from his or her separate property. Each party agrees that any federal tax liabilities, along with any interest or penalties thereon, incurred by a party due to actions before the marriage shall remain the separate property liability of the incurring party and the other party's separate property shall not be liable for such liability. Each party further agrees that the other party's separate property shall not be charged with such debts, obligations or expenses, and further agrees to indemnify the other party if any of such debts, obligations or expenses are paid from the other party's separate property.
B. Future Debt. Where either party enters into any transaction without the joinder of the other party wherein credit is extended to such party, or such party becomes liable or obligated, contingent or otherwise, for the repayment of credit extended by any third party, then such obligation or obligations shall be satisfied wholly from his or her separate property and shall be treated between the parties as the separate debt of the contracting party. Neither party shall be obligated by debt created by the other party, unless both parties agree to be bound in the instrument or instruments pursuant to which the debt is created. Each of the parties hereto agrees that he or she shall do all things necessary to insure that any creditor of such party's separate estate agrees to look solely to that party's separate property or estate for repayment of such creditor. The party incurring such obligation shall indemnify the other party in the event the other party is ever required to satisfy the same.

         Exhibits A and B listed the separate property-assets and liabilities-of each party. Justin owned a residence located at 501 E. Sul Ross Avenue in Alpine, Texas. Alicia owned a residence at 438 E. Rosewood in San Antonio, Texas. Justin's liabilities were listed on Exhibit A as follows: Note payable-WTNB $55, 000; Note payable-WTNB $100, 000; Note payable-TransPecos Bank $294, 132; Note payable-Jeff Haynes $186, 000; Note payable-Comercia [sic] Bank $724, 000.

         On August 27, 2012, Alicia filed a petition for divorce and asked for a division of community property. Justin responded that the Marital Agreement precluded the formation of any community estate subject to division. Alicia denied the Agreement's enforceability, but the trial court[1] held that the Agreement was valid and enforceable as a matter of law. Alicia then asserted claims for breach of contract and for indemnity under the Marital Agreement, requesting approximately $611, 000. In support, she submitted the following damage model alleging five deposits of her separate property were used to pay fourteen debits from the couple's joint checking account in satisfaction of Justin's separate debts:

         (Image Omitted)

         The contract dispute was tried to the bench on September 22-29, 2014. The trial court adopted Alicia's damage model, except for the "result" column. In its subsequent Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, the trial court made Finding of Fact No. 22 regarding the damage model:

The five dates (left-most column) on this chart depict five separate deposits as indicated under the heading "Deposit/Source." Each of the Deposits, according to the Agreement and the admitted evidence, was the separate property of Alicia. Exhibits admitted at trial corroborate the separate property nature of the funds: The $200, 000 check, the $139, 289 check and the $295, 000 check were all clearly sourced from Alicia's separate property home. The $145, 265 in refinancing proceeds came in the form of a check drawn payable to Justin and Alicia, jointly, from the refinancing of [the Sul Ross house] that both parties represented to the lender was jointly owned. The $100, 794 in proceeds came from the sale of [the Sul Ross house] that was jointly owned. The Agreement includes terms to the effect that, if there was no agreement otherwise, that the parties would hold jointly owned assets as Tenants in Common. There was no statute of frauds defense plead.

         After various modifications, the trial court ultimately signed a final monetary judgment and final decree of divorce awarding Alicia $451, 051.13 in indemnity (less a $38, 000.00 credit for amounts paid by Justin for temporary support during the divorce and interim attorney's fees) for the following payments:

1. $100, 739.73 to West Texas National Bank on June 2, 2004 made from proceeds from a mold settlement on Alicia's separate property home;
2. $131, 808.33 to West Texas National Bank on January 11, 2005 made from funds received from refinancing (home equity loan) Justin's Sul Ross house;
3. $103, 503.07 to TransPecos Bank on March 30, 2006 made from proceeds from the sale of Alicia's home;
4. $15, 000 to TransPecos Bank on March 30, 2006, made from proceeds from the sale of Alicia's home; [2] and
5. $100, 000 payment to TransPecos Bank on October 21, 2008 made from proceeds from the sale of ...

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