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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS: Carlyn P. Bailey-Mason appeals the trial court’s judgment finding that Rae Black Mason was the surviving spouse of Edward James Mason. After Globe Life and Accident Insurance Co. and Safeco Life and Investments interpleaded life insurance proceeds that were subject to the conflicting claims of Bailey-Mason and Rae Mason, the trial court determined that Rae Mason was the surviving spouse of Dr. Mason. In December 1979, Dr. Mason filed for divorce from Rae Mason. On Nov. 8, 1982, the case went to trial. According to the docket sheet, two days later, Dr. Mason and Rae Mason reached a settlement. The reporter’s record cannot be located. However, the docket sheet contains the following notation: “Settlement announced at 3:30 p.m. � Settlement agreement recited into record in open court with parties & attys present � Divorce granted and agreements approved � agreed judgment to be presented by attys.” After the parties failed to present a judgment to the trial court, the trial court entered an order of dismissal for want of prosecution on April 19, 1984. In May 1984, Rae Mason filed a motion to reinstate the divorce. The motion was apparently granted. In early April 1985, Dr. Mason’s counsel advised the trial court by letter that “Dr. Mason, advises me he no longer wishes to prosecute his divorce.” On June 24, 1985, the trial court signed a second order dismissing Dr. Mason and Rae Mason’s divorce for want of prosecution. On Aug. 7, 1987, Dr. Mason executed a will. In the will, Dr. Mason described himself as “unmarried.” In April 1991, Dr. Mason and Bailey-Mason were married in Las Vegas. They later had two children. In May 1997, Globe issued a policy insuring Dr. Mason’s life. Bailey-Mason was designated as the sole beneficiary. Likewise, in July 1990, Safeco issued a policy insuring Dr. Mason’s life with Bailey-Mason designated as the sole beneficiary. In the applications for both policies, Bailey-Mason was identified as Dr. Mason’s wife. Subsequently, Dr. Mason was murdered and the life insurance companies interpleaded the life insurance proceeds. The interpleader actions were transferred to the probate court. Rae Mason and Bailey-Mason resolved all of the issues in controversy except the issue of whether Rae Mason or Bailey-Mason was the surviving spouse of Dr. Mason. After a trial before the court, the trial court determined that the docket sheet entry on Nov. 10, 1982, was not a rendition of divorce and that there was no final judgment of divorce in the marriage of Rae Mason and Dr. Mason. Thus, the trial court determined the surviving spouse of Dr. Mason was Rae Mason, not Bailey-Mason. HOLDING: Affirmed. When, as here, two or more marriages of a person to different spouses are alleged, the most recent marriage is presumed to be valid against each marriage that precedes it, until one who asserts the validity of a previous marriage proves its validity. Texas Family Code �1.102. This presumption is one of the strongest, if not the strongest, known to law. Tex. Employers’ Ins. Ass’n v. Elder, 155 Tex. 27 (1955). The presumption may outweigh positive evidence to the contrary and its strength increases with the lapse of time, acknowledgments by the parties to the marriage, and the birth of children. However, the presumption is not conclusive, but may be rebutted by evidence which negates dissolution of the previous marriage. Snyder v. Schill, 388 S.W.2d 208 (Tex. Civ. App. � Houston 1964, writ ref’d n.r.e.). Such evidence need not be established absolutely or to a moral certainty. Simpson v. Simpson, 380 S.W.2d 855 (Tex. Civ. App. � Dallas 1964, writ ref’d n.r.e.). Rather, once evidence is presented to show the previous marriage was not dissolved, then the fact finder must determine whether the presumption of validity has been overcome. Here, Rae Mason presented evidence showing that after she and Dr. Mason failed to present a judgment to the trial court, the trial court dismissed the divorce for want of prosecution on April 19, 1984. In May 1984, Rae Mason filed a motion to reinstate the divorce. In early April 1985, Dr. Mason’s counsel advised the trial court by letter that Dr. Mason no longer desired to prosecute his divorce from Rae Mason. On June 24, 1985, the trial court signed a second order dismissing Dr. Mason and Rae Mason’s divorce for want of prosecution. This evidence shows that Rae Mason and Dr. Mason did not dissolve their marriage relationship. Further, the trial court, as fact finder in this case, could reasonably conclude the evidence was sufficient to overcome the presumption of validity of the subsequent marriage of Bailey-Mason and Dr. Mason. A marriage is void if it is entered into when either party has an existing marriage to another person that has not been dissolved by legal action or terminated by the death of the other spouse. Texas Family Code �6.202(a). Because the record contains sufficient evidence upon which the trial court could determine that Rae Mason’s marriage to Dr. Mason remained in effect and his marriage to Bailey-Mason was, therefore, void, the trial court did not err by determining Rae Mason was the surviving spouse. OPINION: Wright, J.

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