This section is from the book "The Law Of Contracts", by William Herbert Page. Also available from Amazon: Commercial Contracts: A Practical Guide to Deals, Contracts, Agreements and Promises.
Husband and wife occupy mutual relations of trust and confidence.1 Neither of them can make a secret profit or gain a separate advantage out of transactions between them without the consent of the other. Thus a husband and wife deeded property in trust to secure a debt of the husband's. After the wife's death the husband bought the property at a sale for such debt. He was held a trustee for his wife's heirs as to her share.2 A post-nuptial contract which is disadvantageous to the wife is presumptively fraudulent,3 and if the husband or those claiming under him wish to uphold such contract it is for them to show the absence of fraud.4 In cases of gratuitous transfers by a wife to a husband,5 at least if it is made under circumstances of suspicion,6 as where the transfer is made shortly before her death,7 fraud is presumed to exist unless the husband shows affirmatively that no fraud existed. In other jurisdictions it is said that there is no presumption of fraud in such cases.8 A full disclosure of facts made after the contract is signed and before it takes effect is sufficient.9
19ln re Spann (Okla.), 152 Pac. 68. 20Enslen's Administrator v. Enslen, 178 Ky. 610, 199 S. W. 794.
21Enslen's Administrator v. Enslen, 178 Ky. 610, 199 S. W. 794.
22 Fleming v. McCutcheon, 85 Minn. 152, 88 N. W. 433.
23Cottingham v. Moore, 128 Ala. 209, 30 So. 784.
24Gorham v. Meacham, 63 Vt. 231, 22 Atl. 572 [sub nomine, Burditt v. Col-burn, 13 L. R. A. 676].
1Meldrum v. Meldrum, 15 Colo. 478, 11 L. R. A. 65, 24 Pac. 1083; Thomas v. Thomas, 27 Okla. 784, 35 L. R. A. (N.S.) 124, 109 Pac. 825, 113 Pac. 1058;
Darlington's Appeal, 86 Pa. St. 512, 27 Am. Rep. 726.
2Jones v. Thorn, 45 W. Va. 186, 32 S. E. 173.
3Michigan. Witbeck v. Witbeck, 25 Mich. 439.
Nebraska. Hovorka v. Havlik, 68 Neb. 14, 93 N. W. 990.
New Jersey. Farmer v. Farmer, 39 N. J. Eq. 211.
New York. Boyd v. De La Montagnie, 73 N. Y. 498, 29 Am. Rep. 197.
South Dakota. Keith v. Keith, 37 S. D. 135, 156 N. W. 910.
4Darlington's Appeal, 86 Pa. St. 512, 27 Am. Rep. 726.
No presumption of fraud arises in conveyances from the husband to the wife.10
If the wife is in fact guilty of taking an unfair advantage of her husband,11 as in procuring the substitution of her name for his as grantee in a deed conveying property paid for by the husband, which he intended to have conveyed to himself,12 or in inducing him to convey property to her when she intends to institute divorce proceedings,13 such transaction may be avoided by the husband or by those claiming under him. A husband who conveys land to his wife in ignorance of the fact that she has committed adultery may have such conveyance set aside.14
Under the California statute, a wife who seeks specific performance against her husband of a contract entered into between them to induce her to dismiss a proceeding for divorce as well as an action against him on notes which she claims to hold against him. must show that such contract is fair in order to have such relief.15 If the wife avoids a conveyance to her husband, he must be reimbursed for improvements which he has made.16