By Daniel Exner
Court-entered marriage settlement agreements are difficult to change because they are both court orders and contracts.
Some parties enter into these divorce settlements and down the road realize they got a raw deal or were not properly advised of future consequences and suddenly want to relinquish a decision they already approved.
What is a legal recourse available if you later want to retract a divorce agreement you signed off on?
Where I practice, a court order regarding property division is final and litigants may not return to court to amend that judgment unless they seek reversal with the Court of Appeals.
This policy exists because courts have an interest in finality and do not want parties returning to court every year to re-litigate their issues. Especially when it comes to family law issues, courts give parties numerous opportunities to settle or contest their issues before rendering a judgment but rarely allow modification unless it relates to child support obligations.
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There is one caveat to the rule against revision. In general, a party may ask a court for relief from a prior judgment because of mistake, excusable neglect, fraud, misrepresentation, misconduct, or other extraordinary reasons.
This relief may be given to any civil judgment, including property divisions in divorce judgments, but requires a substantial showing in court. Motions for Relief, like appeals, are also subject to strict time limitations.
Regret and after-the-fact counseling do not constitute the appropriate grounds for relief. If you had the ability to consult with a divorce lawyer, could appreciate your marital assets during the divorce, and/or voluntarily stipulated to the divorce judgment, you may have some difficulty later contesting an award in your divorce decree.
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.
2 comments on “Divorce Agreements: Retracting A Decision You Agreed To”
My husband didn’t regret the decision he made 14 years ago to take care of his kids until they were 21 (even though he didn’t have to), but what he does regret is a judge who would rule that he has to pay his ex-wife this money, even though she stated in court that not a dime goes to the children, but in fact goes to pay her own debt she created with her 2nd husband. Meanwhile, my stepson lives on his own and struggles to support himself through college and we can’t help him a bit since we have to give the money to his mother. THAT is an injustice to the child! And going to court about it did absolutely no good…the judge ruled in favor of the mother keeping the child support money for herself and our attorney not putting up a fight at all.
sad sorry shame
i was divorced against my will, had my child taken against my will (told I had no choice because he was under 30 months). This is a disgusting despicable deplorable civil rights injustice and has got to stop! How’s that for finality?