Rule 11 Agreement Filed Over A Year After It Was Signed Is Enforceable

Divorce decree paperwork

In Markarian v. Markarian, the Dallas Court of Appeals upheld a trial court’s ruling that a final divorce decree signed by the parties, and filed over a year after it was signed, was enforceable pursuant to Rule 11 of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure. Rule 11 provides that agreements must be (1) in writing, (2) signed, and (3) filed with the papers as a part of the record to constitute an enforceable Rule 11 agreement. See Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 11. However, the rule does not state when the writing must be filed

In Markarian, the parties negotiated a signed a final decree of divorce around February 2010, however, it was not filed with the court.  The parties then continued to negotiate their divorce for more than a year, although no party formally revoked their consent of the final decree. One of the parties then filed an answer and counter-petition. The following day, the other party filed the previously signed final decree, which the trial court accepted at a prove up hearing. 

The trial court refused to set aside the final decree, and an appeal followed.  The issue was whether the final decree met the requirements of Rule 11 of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure.  The appellant argued that because it was not “filed” before it was signed by the trial judge and enforced as required by Rule 11.  The court of appeals disagreed and held that as long as it was filed before it was sought to be enforced, the requirements of Rule 11 had been met, and therefore, the trial court’s ruling was upheld.