Ask a Divorce Lawyer: Can I void a divorce document if I felt tricked into signing it?

Question: I am an ex spouse of a retired military officer. During the proceedings, which I had no knowledge of, I was in and out of the hospital due to my disability. 

I signed what I thought were just routine divorce papers, but instead were papers waiving my right to my ex’s retirement pay. 

Is there a way to void this since I felt tricked into doing so while being in poor medical condition?


Answer: Did you have an attorney at the time you signed the agreement?  Were you in the hospital when you signed the agreement?

When entering into a marital settlement agreement, both parties are signing a provision which says something along the lines of “both parties are entering into this agreement freely and voluntarily and without undue coercion.”  However, if you signed the document when you were not competent to understand what you were signing and there was undue coercion (being tricked), you may be able to go back to court and re-open the divorce judgment.

You should contact an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction immediately to discuss the circumstances which lead to you signing the agreement.  I do not practice in Tennessee, however, Cordell & Cordell has attorneys licensed and located in Tennessee who would be happy to help.


Erica Christian is an Associate Attorney in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, office of Cordell & Cordell, P.C. She is licensed to practice law in the state of Wisconsin. She is a member of the Wisconsin Bar Association, the Family Law Section and the Children’s Law Section.

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