Are Property Division Awards Modifiable?

divorce lawyer Daniel ExnerQuestion:

I was blindsided by my divorce and a judgment that essentially gave all our property both personal and shared to my ex-wife, including the home.

She now has all of my accounts, possessions, and our house. She even has the kids’ personal property.

Do I have any rights post-judgment to reclaim at least some of the value of the home or modify the property ruling? Do my children have the right to seek return of their possessions?

Answer:

Since I am only licensed to practice law in Wisconsin, I can only provide you with general divorce help for men to your divorce laws question.

All divorce actions will result in a final judgment of divorce. The final judgment is a court order and enforceable just like any other court order.

In family law, the final judgment will address several areas including the custody and placement of the children, support obligations, and property division. The orders that pertain to these areas are treated differently after a divorce is finalized.

In my jurisdiction, orders regarding the placement and support of children are generally always modifiable. Orders regarding property division are not modifiable unless the moving party can prove some kind of extenuating circumstance (i.e. fraud, mistake, duress, etc.).

In the interest of finality, courts do not like to revisit property division issues if the parties had the opportunity to litigate the issue before the final judgment. Failing to argue an issue does not constitute an extenuating circumstance.

Divorce Resources:

Property Division Laws

In your case, the answer to your questions are going to be fact intensive and require a comprehensive evaluation of the circumstances surrounding your divorce. If the divorce judgment divided the property between the parties, and your ex-wife simply seized the property awarded to you following the judgment, then there may be certain legal remedies available.

If, however, this is a case where you are unhappy with the final property division, your options may be limited because the court already adjudicated the issue.

In regards to the children, their ability to reclaim property will depend on their age and the nature of the judgment. If the children are still minors, all the marital personal property technically belonged to the parents and the final judgment should have addressed this issue as well.

Whether you have a case is going to depend on the circumstances behind your divorce. I strongly recommend you sit down with a family law attorney for at least a consultation to go over the details.

I also encourage you to do this sooner rather than later. In my jurisdiction, the law often puts time limitations on the ability of parties to appeal, contest, or reopen judgments. The longer you wait, the greater the risk your action may be legally barred.

Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult with a divorce lawyer in your jurisdiction.

Cordell & Cordell has men’s divorce lawyers located nationwide. To schedule an appointment with a divorce attorney, including Milwaukee Divorce Lawyer Daniel Exner, please contact Cordell & Cordell.

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