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divorce settlement

Divorce Financial Planning: Can a Divorce Settlement Be Reopened

Divorce can be a complex and emotionally charged process. The settlement reached at the end of a divorce case is intended to provide a final resolution to the issues between the parties. However, life is unpredictable, and circumstances may change after a divorce settlement is finalized, leading to the question of whether a divorce settlement can be reopened.

Unfortunately, the answer to this question is not a straightforward one. It really does depend on the specific circumstances of each case. Generally, divorce settlements are final and binding, and the court will not reopen a case unless there is a compelling reason to do so. Below are some of the circumstances in which a court may consider reopening a divorce case.

Fraud or misrepresentation

If one of the parties in a divorce case committed fraud or misrepresented important information during the settlement negotiations, the court may reopen the case. For example, if one spouse hid assets from the other spouse during the divorce proceedings, this could be grounds for relitigation.

Mistake or error

When the basis of a divorce settlement stems from a mistake or error, you may be able to get the court to reopen the divorce settlement. For instance, if there was a clerical error in the settlement agreement, such as the incorrect listing of an asset or debt, the court may reopen the case to correct the error.

Changes in circumstances 

Significant changes in the circumstances of one or both parties since the divorce financial settlement was finalized, could constitute valid legal grounds for the court to consider reexamining the settlement. This may include changes in income, health or employment status. Changes in the needs of any children involved in the divorce may also prompt reopening of the divorce case. 

Noncompliance with settlement agreement

If one of the parties fails to comply with the terms of the settlement agreement, the court may deem it necessary to revisit your case to enforce the agreement or modify it as necessary.

Consult the advice of an attorney

It is important to note that even if one of the above circumstances applies, there is no guarantee that the court will reopen a divorce case. The party seeking to reopen the case will need to demonstrate to the court that there is a compelling reason to do so.

If you believe that you have grounds to reopen your divorce settlement, it is best to seek the advice of an experienced family law attorney. An attorney can evaluate your case and provide guidance on the best course of action.

Chicago divorce financial planning

The courts in Chicago can be tough to navigate for these proceedings because they often have a backlog of cases. 

Backup Plan

Along with the legal considerations which are important during a divorce, you should also think about the financial aspects of a divorce. Having a personal financial plan that is comprehensive and factors in how a potential divorce financial settlement or reopening of a divorce settlement could impact your wealth management goals. In some instances it may not be worth it financially to reopen a settlement, despite your legally valid reasons to do so. 
Speaking with the financial professionals at Purposeful Wealth Advisors can empower you to better understand the financial aspects of a divorce and allow you to make a decision as to whether or not to move forward with attempting to reopen a divorce settlement.