Post-nuptial Agreement - Fraud in the Inducement: Northington v. Northington


Northington v. Northington, [Ms. 2160352, Nov. 9, 2017] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. Civ. App. 2017). This unanimous decision by Presiding Judge Thompson (Pittman, Thomas, and Moore, JJ., concur; Donaldson, J., recuses) affirms the Tuscaloosa Circuit Court’s order enforcing a post-nuptial agreement. The agreement was signed after the parties had been married over 15 years. When the husband discovered the wife was having an extra-marital affair, the husband gave her the option of ending the marriage or entering a post-nuptial agreement. The parties then negotiated a post-nuptial agreement over a two-year period and during that time, the wife consulted with three attorneys. Ms. *17. The husband filed for divorce seventeen months after the post-nuptial agreement was executed.

The wife contended that she had been fraudulently induced to sign the post-nuptial agreement due in part to the fact that the husband had not disclosed the value of the real estate listed in the agreement but had merely identified the real estate, cost basis, and debt thereon. Ms. *10.

In rejecting the wife’s contentions, the court held:

The agreement listed all of the real estate the wife was agreeing to relinquish, as well as Bama Exterminating. The wife had been married to the husband for almost 20 years at the time the agreement was signed, and she was familiar with the real estate, as well as the income derived from Bama Exterminating. Although the husband did not provide the wife with the market values of the real estate as she had requested, he did provide her with methods she could use to learn the values of the properties. Some of the real estate on the husband’s list had been in the wife’s family and had been purchased from one of her family members. Nonetheless, during the 27 months of negotiating the agreement, the wife was aware that she did not know the market values of the properties at issue, yet she chose not to avail herself of any of the husband’s suggestions for learning those values.

Ms. *17.

The court concluded “that the evidence demonstrated the agreement was fair, just, and equitable from the wife’s point of view. Accordingly, the trial court’s determination that the post-nuptial agreement was valid and enforceable is due to be affirmed.” Ms. *18.

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