How to Reverse a Divorce Settlement

By Rob Jennings J.D.

While you may have no regrets about ending your marriage, you could have them regarding the marital settlement agreement your have with your ex-spouse. During and after your breakup, a number of circumstantial changes and new discoveries can occur that may cause you to rethink earlier decisions. It is not always possible to modify the terms of a marital settlement agreement – courts are reluctant to modify contractual terms without the parties' mutual consent – but you can sometimes have some or all of your settlement set aside. The exact procedure will vary depending upon your state.

While you may have no regrets about ending your marriage, you could have them regarding the marital settlement agreement your have with your ex-spouse. During and after your breakup, a number of circumstantial changes and new discoveries can occur that may cause you to rethink earlier decisions. It is not always possible to modify the terms of a marital settlement agreement – courts are reluctant to modify contractual terms without the parties' mutual consent – but you can sometimes have some or all of your settlement set aside. The exact procedure will vary depending upon your state.

Step 1

Identify the provisions of the agreement that you want to see changed and examine the contract to see if it contains provisions allowing for modification. If no modification provisions exist, you'll need a good reason to justify setting the agreement aside. You may have discovered that your spouse hid assets, which justifies setting aside a property settlement; or you might have found evidence that your spouse misrepresented her needs or income, which might support striking an agreement on alimony. Whatever grounds may exist, you'll need to produce substantial proof to demonstrate to the court that the agreement should be reversed or changed.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Step 2

File a motion with the court requesting that your settlement agreement be set aside, either in whole or in part. Depending upon your state, the motion may be one to reopen your divorce or simply to modify one or more provisions of the agreement. State law will dictate what you must allege in your motion. Once you've filed the motion with the clerk of the court, a copy must be served on your ex-spouse or her attorney of record. Along with your motion, you should also file and serve a notice of hearing informing the other side of when they need to be in court for the hearing on your motion.

Step 3

Appear at the hearing and argue your case. Motions to set aside or modify terms of a marital settlement agreement almost always require a court hearing. Depending upon the basis for your motion and the nature of the evidence brought out during the discovery process, a plenary hearing might be required in which the parties appear and testify. If there are no issues of fact in your case, and you are arguing with your spouse over whether an undisputed set of facts justifies setting aside your agreement, you may have a summary hearing, where the court reviews pleadings and affidavits and makes an order based upon the evidence in the case file.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
How to Change Custody of a Minor in New Jersey

References

Related articles

Can I Amend a Divorce Decree After Five Months in Wisconsin?

Your divorce decree may address issues like child support, child custody and spousal support, but the decree may become outdated as your circumstances change. In Wisconsin, it is often possible to modify your divorce decree, but it is difficult to do so after just five months since you’ll have to show the court there has been a significant change in circumstances since the decree was issued. Further, if you are attempting to change child custody, you must show the current conditions are physically or emotionally harmful to your child.

Modified Judgment of Divorce in Michigan

When Michigan courts make decisions in a divorce case, they base those decisions on the facts known at the time of the divorce hearings. However, circumstances may change after the court issues its divorce decree, making the decree outdated, so Michigan law allows courts to modify certain aspects of a divorce decree, including child support, spousal support, child custody and parenting time.

How to File an Extension for a Divorce

Courts are generally busy with many cases on their dockets, so they like to keep everything moving according to set timelines. However, courts are often generous in granting extensions for a final divorce hearing in cases where the parties are attempting to settle their differences concerning property or child custody. Courts are even more generous in granting extensions when the parties are attempting to reconcile. If you want to extend the time before your divorce is granted, you can ask the court if it will allow it.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

Is a Verbal Agreement Binding in a Divorce Decree in Colorado?

An agreement can make the divorce process move along quicker and cheaper since you won’t spend time and money ...

Motion for Emergency Money in a Divorce

By their nature, emergencies tend to appear when we least expect them. Divorce cases are not immune to unexpected life ...

How to File a Motion for Contempt in a Divorce Case

The battles in your divorce case don't always end when the judge rules on the last open issue. You may find yourself ...

Do You Need to Appear in Court for Reducing Alimony?

Although you may have been flush with cash when your original alimony obligation was established -- either by mutual ...

Browse by category