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Wilcox v. Trautz

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
693 N.E.2d 141 (1998)


Facts

Wilcox (plaintiff) and Trautz (defendant) had lived together for over 20 years as an unmarried couple, when Wilcox began a relationship with someone else. Trautz had his attorney draft an agreement setting out their rights with respect to the assets acquired during their relationship. Under the agreement, each party’s income and assets were that party’s alone. The agreement also provided that Wilcox would vacate their home within 30 days after Trautz asked her to do so. Trautz told Wilcox that if she did not sign the agreement, their relationship would end, and she would have to move out of their home. Trautz advised Wilcox to seek legal advice before signing the agreement, but she did not. Wilcox and Trautz both signed the agreement. At the time, Trautz had a significant amount of assets in his name, while Wilcox had nearly none. Several years later, Wilcox again began a relationship with another person. Trautz asked Wilcox to move out of the home, and she refused. Wilcox brought an action seeking a declaration that the agreement was invalid and unenforceable. The trial court held that the agreement was invalid and should not be enforced. Trautz appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Greaney, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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