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Marital Agreements

In Williams v. Williams, a Texas case, the issue was whether the premarital agreement contemplated a community estate at all.  The agreement's stated purpose was "That the separate character of the properties of each will be preserved after the marriage from the standpoint of management, accounting, liabilities, ownership, and otherwise..." 

After the husband filed for divorce, the wife sought a declaratory judgment that salaries were not covered by the agreement and were community property.  The trial court concluded that the clear meaning of the agreement was that income from their personal efforts was that income from their personal efforts was to be their separate property after marriage.  Consequently, no community property was accumulated and no community estate existed.

On appeal, the wife claimed that the contract was ambiguous.  The appellate court agreed with the alternative argument that if the contract was unambiguous, it did not specifically address wages and salary.  Thus, the appellate court ruled in the wife's favor and held the wages and salary to be community property.

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