Once Divorce Papers Are Signed Can They Be Changed?

When a marriage no longer works, divorce may be the healthiest option. Unfortunately, it is not a simple process. Imagine reaching a settlement after weeks of negotiating with your spouse. It may be a huge relief. But what happens if you come to realize you’ve made a mistake?

Once a separation agreement, consent order, or other settlement agreement is signed, can they be changed? The simple answer is yes. Doing so, however, can be a complicated process. Work with a divorce attorney in Monroe, NC for a better understanding of the process. 

The Divorce Agreement

 In a divorce case, parties often negotiate a separation agreement with or without an attorney. The agreement can deal with:

  • property division-known as equitable distribution

  • custody
  • support
  • visitation
  • alimony

Once signed, the agreement is binding with the exceptions of custody, visitation, and child support, which a court can later modify. If litigation is involved, the parties attend mediation. They negotiate and attempt to reach an agreement. When both parties are satisfied and come to an agreement, a divorce agreement is drawn up and presented to a judge. 

 If you change your mind before the judge signs and the agreement is not notarized, you can begin negotiations afresh. At this point, you should explain issues that you aren’t satisfied with and the changes you wish to make. You can always renegotiate at any point as long as the divorce agreement has not been finalized. 

 If the papers have already been signed, your lawyer must present a strong argument to the judge explaining that you wish to make a change based on some tangible reason, but the request may be denied. There is usually a limited amount of time for your attorney to act. If you want to make a change to your divorce papers, you should inform your attorney immediately so that they can take the necessary legal actions on your behalf. 

Making Changes After the Final Decree

If you wish to change your agreement once the final divorce decree has already been entered, it will be more difficult. Your best option may be to convince the judge to reopen your case; depending on the facts of your case, you may work with your lawyer to prove that your spouse committed fraud in the negotiations. You may also be able to prove that you were deceived into signing the papers. 

If, for example, you realize that your spouse was hiding their assets at the time of the negotiation, you may be able to change the child support terms. If you present sufficient evidence to the court, a judge may choose to reopen your case. 

Do not sign a divorce settlement agreement unless you are satisfied. Changing a divorce agreement can be difficult. Sometimes, it may be impossible. To help ensure that your concerns are addressed in your divorce settlement, you should seek advice from your  Monroe, NC divorce attorney. If you are still asking the question ‘Once divorce papers are signed can they be changed?’ your lawyer will give you the advice you need. Take the time necessary to discuss the implications of the agreement with your lawyer. Working with a good attorney increases your chances of reaching more favorable divorce terms.  

We’re Here to Help

Consider working with Plyler, Long & Corigliano, LLP. We are passionate about our job, and our team has more than 110 years of combined legal experience. Our goal is to solve your family law problems in a compassionate and friendly environment. If you have any legal questions, we are happy to answer them. Contact us today at (704) 741-5804 and book your appointment.