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Court's failure to hold evidentiary hearing to examine ex-husband's allegations of fraud in consent judgment is held to be abuse of discretion

The court held that the trial court abused its discretion when it failed to hold an evidentiary hearing after plaintiff-ex-husband in essence alleged that defendant-ex-wife fraudulently obtained the consent judgment. The issue was whether the trial court properly declined to set aside the consent judgment when the plaintiff alleged that (1) the defendant deliberately withheld information that she was pregnant with another man's child before he signed the consent judgment of divorce and (2) knowledge of her pregnancy would have affected his decision to sign the consent judgment because he would have been concerned about her ability to properly parent two children. Plaintiff alleged that the trial court abused its discretion by upholding the parties' consent judgment of divorce without holding an evidentiary hearing on the issue of fraud. The court held that to deny him an evidentiary hearing was to risk holding him to the terms of a consent judgment that he would not otherwise have signed and a custody arrangement to which he would not otherwise have consented. The court held that Kiefer applied squarely to the facts here. Under Kiefer, the trial court should have held an evidentiary hearing and made findings after reviewing the record. The trial court's finding that plaintiff's concerns were "hypothetical" did not address any of the elements of fraud. Because the trial court did not take evidence or make findings of fact, the court was not in a position to determine whether the alleged misrepresentation was material, was intended to induce plaintiff to sign the consent judgment, or whether he signed the consent judgment in reliance on the misrepresentation. Reversed and remanded.

Antenuptial agreement held to be valid and enforceable

The court held that the parties' antenuptial agreement was valid and enforceable, concluding that to invalidate it on the basis of one party's fault would contravene the agreement's clear and unambiguous language, and that as a matter of law, the...

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