Can I Set Aside my Marital Settlement Agreement?

Previously on this blog we have discussed the question of, "What is a Marital Settlement Agreement?"  In a Florida divorce, a marital settlement agreement encompasses all of the terms and/or conditions of the parties divorce settlement.   These terms include the equitable distribution of the marital debts and assets, the alimony or child support obligations of the parties, and other miscellaneous factors which the parties may agree to.  Marital settlement agreements are entered into by agreements of the parties.  But what happens if one of the parties later wishes to set aside that agreement that they signed?

It is important to realize that marital settlement agreements are binding.  It is essential to consult an expert Florida family law attorney about the terms of your marital settlement agreement before signing it because you will be bound by what is in that agreement.  There are only limited amounts of ways to get that agreement set aside, or voided. 

If a Final Judgment has yet to be entered in your case, your agreement can be set aside only if the legal prerequisites have not been followed, or there is there is some kind of overreaching, fraud, duress, coercion, concealment, or misrepresentation.  An expert Tampa family law attorney can discuss what legal prerequisites must be followed, such as the need for the agreement to have adequate consideration, mutual consent, legal purpose, and compliance with the Statute of Frauds.  A Florida divorce attorney can also explain if the facts of your case indicate any fraud, duress, unfairness, or lack of financial disclosure, which could be a basis to set aside your agreement.

If a Final Judgment has been entered in your case, your agreement can only be set aside under Florida Family Law Rule of Procedure 12.540, which contemplates fraud, misrepresentation, mistake, or newly discovered evidence.  Marital settlement agreements are difficult to challenge in court once signed by both parties.  Make sure you contact a Florida family law attorney before signing any agreement, or if you have concerns about your already executed marital settlement agreement.