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.

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.

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.

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

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 Overturn a Dissolution of Marriage Final Judgment in Florida


Related articles

Can a Non-Modifiable Alimony Agreement Be Modified in Ohio?

Most alimony awards in Ohio are non-modifiable unless they contain language that reserves the court's jurisdiction to do so. This is true whether you terminate your marriage by dissolution or divorce. Dissolution simply means you and your spouse have reached an agreement on marital terms, such as alimony, while divorce means the court resolved one or more of these issues for you. Unless the terms of your agreement or decree give the court authority to later modify alimony, it is likely that your alimony order will remain intact unless you can prove fraud, misrepresentation or mistake.

How Long It Takes for an Uncontested Divorce to Be Final in New York

Disagreement between spouses usually is a major catalyst for divorce. Once the decision to end a marriage is made, if a couple can find common ground on all of the issues related to the divorce, they may qualify for an uncontested divorce in New York. Although certain state eligibility requirements must first be met, uncontested divorces typically can be finalized faster that traditional divorces, as the parties do not need to litigate their issues in court.

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.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

Divorce Settlement Statute of Limitations in Chicago, Illinois

A statute of limitations is a legal deadline before which a court case may initially be brought or appealed. Under ...

How to Amend Divorce Papers

No matter how well-drafted and accurate your divorce papers are when you file them, you may subsequently need to amend ...

Michigan Law on Divorce Settlements

Michigan is one of the few states where judges can consider marital misconduct when dividing property in a divorce. ...

How to Void a Custody Agreement

Generally, parents cannot fully void a child custody agreement so that no formal order is in place. Instead, parents ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED