Court of Appeals of Texas, Twelfth District, Tyler
IN THE MATTER OF THE MARRIAGE OF NAINA LYNNE GREEN AND JOHN BERNICE MCDANIEL
from the 1st District Court of Sabine County, Texas (Tr.Ct.
consisted of Worthen, C.J., Hoyle, J., and Neeley, J.
T. Worthen Chief Justice.
Lynne Green appeals the trial court's final divorce
decree, which characterized certain real property known as
"God's Country RV Park" (the RV park) as part
of the community property of her marital estate with John
Bernice McDaniel. In one issue, Green argues that the RV park
was her separate property, which McDaniel gave her as a gift
during their marriage. We affirm.
and McDaniel were married for over fifteen years when Green
filed for divorce in July 2015. The undisputed evidence at
trial showed that they established the RV park during their
marriage. Green introduced into evidence a recorded quitclaim
deed from McDaniel to her, dated October 23, 2012,
transferring his interest in the RV park to her. The
quitclaim deed stated the consideration given was "cash
and other good and valuable consideration, a receipt and
sufficiency of which are hereby acknowledged, paid from
grantee's separate property." But, at trial, Green
testified that McDaniel's intent in signing the quitclaim
deed was to give her the RV park as a gift.
testified that at the time he executed the quitclaim deed, he
had been having heart problems. He further testified that he
had seen numerous heart doctors about this condition.
McDaniel stated that at the conclusion of his appointments
with these doctors, Green stayed behind to talk with the
doctors. McDaniel further stated that what was said during
these conversations was not audible to him, but afterward,
Green would tell him that "the doctor said it really
wasn't good[;] you may not be with us very long."
McDaniel testified that after a number of these conversations
with Green, he agreed to sign the quitclaim deed.
arranged for an attorney, whom McDaniel never had met, to
prepare the quitclaim deed. McDaniel testified that when he
signed the quitclaim deed, he told the drafting attorney he
was doing so "just in case I pass away or something
happens to me." McDaniel further testified that he told
the attorney that it was not his intention to transfer his
interest in the RV park to Green unless something terrible
happened to him.
the trial court rendered a Final Decree of Divorce, which
characterized the RV park as community property and awarded
one-half of it to Green and one-half of it to McDaniel. The
trial court entered the following conclusions of law
regarding its division of the RV park:
12. Respondent denied execution of the deed for the property
known as "God's Country R.V. Park" and
testified that it was procured through forgery or fraud, and
the deed purported to be dated October 23, 2012, lacked an
acknowledgment or notary. The Notary did not testify to
13. Grantor spouse was a party to the deed and subject to the
parole evidence rule.
14. Grantor spouse was not involved in having or directing
the preparation of the deed. The deed recited only a cash
consideration. The deed failed to state the property was
conveyed as spouse's sole and separate property. Grantor
spouse did not intend to make a gift of property to grantee
spouse. Although, a deed from one spouse as grantor to the
other spouse as grantee creates a presumption that the
grantee spouse received the property as separate property,
the presumption was rebutted by fraud, allegations of
forgery, the plain language of the deed, the lack of donative
intent from the grantor and the lack of a recitation in the
deed as grantee[']s sole and separate property.