Almost everyone going through a divorce looks forward to the day that the legal process can finally be considered “done.” But, sometimes, issues can pop up even after a divorce settlement is reached; for example, a forgotten account can be discovered, or a spouse can find out that the other party was hiding something during the initial process. What options are available to those in North Carolina who realize an issue was missed after signing on the dotted line?
How final are divorce settlements?
Settlement agreements are final agreements. When signing, both parties agree to the fact that all assets and debts were addressed and distributed. This means that there are very limited avenues through which someone can reopen or adjust anything within the agreement.
What is the process if both parties agree an issue was missed?
When both parties are in agreement that an issue was forgotten, the process is easier. They can mutually agree for the settlement to be reopened and for new terms to be added. This is most often done in the case of assets that are titled to both parties, such as forgotten shared accounts.
What is the process if only one party thinks an issue was missed?
One spouse can request that the court reopen the settlement unilaterally, although it will be necessary to meet fairly high criteria for this to be done. Mistakes, newly discovered evidence, or fraud may be considered by a court. The length of time that has passed since the signing of the original settlement is also an important legal consideration.
Because the standards to reopen a divorce settlement are extremely high and contentious, such requests should be made very carefully and strategically. A North Carolina family lawyer can help to explain and explore options. They can also help submit a request to the court to reopen a case if necessary.