(CN) – An Indiana woman who signed a contract with her boyfriend to stay faithful – then got pregnant by another man – lost a court battle to keep part of his inheritance.
John Scott and Tina Hemingway had already broken up at least once before in their eight-year relationship when they signed the contract, a few days after Valentine’s Day in 2012.
That same day, Feb. 17, Scott conveyed a 10-acre parcel of land he inherited from his dead father in 2001 from himself to himself and Hemingway.
No cheating was one of several conditions laid out in the contract, which Hemingway wrote by hand. If she breached the contract in any way, Hemingway pledged that she would quitclaim-deed her interest in property.
The following January, however, Hemingway gave birth to a child that she admits is not Scott’s.
After Hemingway moved out in June 2013, Scott notified her that she was in breach of the contract and must convey her interest in the property back to him.
The spat soon reached the Jefferson Circuit Court, which ruled for Scott just this past April.
Affirming that decision on Dec. 30, the Indiana Court of Appeals rejected Hemingway’s claim that the contract was unenforceable.
“We disagree with Hemingway’s attempts to characterize the contract as an unenforceable agreement requiring forbearance of consensual sexual activity,” Judge Terry Crone wrote for a three-judge panel in Indianapolis. “In nature, this contract is akin to a prenuptial agreement, in which the parties resolve ahead of time their relative rights in property should the relationship dissolve.
Crone called it inapt for Hemingway to cite the precursor to no-fault divorce in Indiana, a law that abolished certain torts pertaining to sexual activity.
“We observe that the contract does not require either party to perform sexual services,” Crone wrote. “Nor does it require either party to abstain from all sexual activity. Rather, it simply lists cheating by either party as one of the acts constituting breach.”
The court noted that Scott would suffer “serious and grievous” consequences if the contract were not enforced.
“The record shows that the property had been his parents’ home, which he inherited at his father’s death,” Crone wrote. “By way of contrast, Hemingway wasted little time in breaching the contract.”
Hemingway also failed to persuade the court that the deed superseded the contract.
“Here, the parties executed the contract just hours before the deed, and that contract was indisputably breached by Hemingway,” Crone wrote. “The contract’s specific language that it ‘be attached to the property deed’ indicates the clear intent of the parties that the contract survive the deed.”
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