FROM THE PULASKI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, THIRTEENTH DIVISION
[NO. 60PR-15-1136] HONORABLE W. MICHAEL REIF, JUDGE
Daniel IV, P.A., by: Ed Daniel IV, for appellant.
Light & Buzbee, PLLC, by: John B. Buzbee, for appellee.
MARK KLAPPENBACH, JUDGE.
Kathy Frazier Mays appeals the May 2017 order entered by the
Pulaski County Circuit Court, probate division, finding that
she failed to establish the invalidity of an antenuptial
agreement. The parties to the 1995 antenuptial agreement were
Kathy and Sedrick Mays. Sedrick died in June 2015. Kathy
argues on appeal that the trial court's finding that the
antenuptial agreement was enforceable against her is clearly
erroneous and must be reversed. We disagree with her argument
appellate court reviews probate proceedings de novo but will
not reverse the decision of the probate court unless it is
clearly erroneous. Seymour v. Biehslich, 371 Ark.
359, 266 S.W.3d 722 (2007). A finding is clearly erroneous
when, although there is evidence to support it, the appellate
court is left on the entire evidence with the firm conviction
that a mistake has been committed. Id. We must defer
to the superior position of the lower court sitting in a
probate matter to weigh the credibility of the witnesses.
Patton v. Fulmer, 2016 Ark.App. 260, 492 S.W.3d 512.
To the extent that the appellate court reviews questions of
law, that review is de novo. Estate of Taylor v. MCSA,
LLC, 2013 Ark. 429, 430 S.W.3d 120; Broussard v. St.
Edward Mercy Health Sys., Inc., 2012 Ark. 14, 386 S.W.3d
law has long recognized the validity of
premarital agreements. See, e.g.,
Oliphant v. Oliphant, 177 Ark. 613, 7 S.W.2d 783
(1928). In Arkansas, a premarital agreement is valid if it
was freely entered into and is free from fraud and not
inequitable. Arnold v. Arnold, 261 Ark. 734, 553
S.W.2d 251 (1977); Gooch v. Gooch, 10 Ark.App. 432,
664 S.W.2d 900 (1984). Parties contemplating marriage may, by
agreement, fix the rights of each in the property of the
other differently than established by law. Banks v.
Evans, 347 Ark. 383, 64 S.W.3d 746 (2002); Hughes v.
Hughes, 251 Ark. 63, 471 S.W.2d 355 (1971). In
determining the fairness or equity of the agreement, the
court may consider the parties' respective stations in
life, their experiences and educations, and their knowledge
of financial and legal matters. Banks,
supra; Gooch, supra.
issue here is the enforcement of a premarital agreement,
governed by Arkansas Code Annotated section 9-11-406, which
provides in relevant part as follows:
(a) A premarital agreement is not enforceable if the party
against whom enforcement is sought proves that:
(1) that party did not execute the agreement voluntarily; or
(2) the agreement was unconscionable when it was executed
and, before execution of the agreement, that party:
(i) was not provided a fair and reasonable disclosure of the
property or financial obligations of the other party;
(ii) did not voluntarily and expressly waive after consulting
with legal counsel, in writing, any right to disclosure of
the property or financial obligations of the other party
beyond the disclosure provided; and
(iii) did not have, or reasonably could not have had, an
adequate knowledge of the property or financial obligations
of the other party. . . . .
(c) An issue of unconscionability of a premarital agreement
shall be decided by the ...