I would like to set aside this divorce judgment and have the court enter a modified order so that I can be well aware of what I am agreeing to this time around.
Is it possible to set aside a decree if I felt tricked into signing the papers without fully knowing what I was agreeing to?
In most states, there are two ways to set aside a court order. Neither way is easy, and must be brought for proper reasons under the local court rules.
First, a party can appeal any order entered by the court. Normally for an appeal, a party must state an allegation that there has been an error made by the trial court, that could be corrected by the appellate court.
Second, and most likely to apply to your case, is to ask the trial court to set aside an order it entered. Each state has a different time line for how long after an order is entered a party has an opportunity to ask that it be set aside.
In Michigan, where I practice, a Judgment of Divorce is not enforceable until 21 days after it is entered, to allow either party to challenge it. After the waiting period, a judgment can only be set aside within a reasonable time and for good cause. Each state will have different requirements for a showing of good cause. You should know that setting aside an order is not an easy task.
Normally, property division and spousal support awards are final when the judgment is entered. Most states allow child support and custody to be modified at any time, with a showing of proper cause and that the change is in the children’s best interests.
The information in the article is general in nature. You should contact an attorney in your jurisdiction immediately to discuss your options.
Cordell & Cordell represents men in divorce nationwide.
Jill A. Duffy is an Associate Attorney in the Troy, Mich., office of Cordell & Cordell. She is licensed to practice in the state of Michigan. Ms. Duffy received her BA in Psychology and Spanish and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Oakland University. She received her Juris Doctor from Michigan State University College of Law and graduated Magna Cum Laude.