Reasons for Separation Agreement Modification
In our last post, we discussed what a Legal Separation Agreement is, why you might need one and how it differs from a Divorce Settlement. In this post, we discuss how your Divorce Lawyer or Family Law Attorney may need to modify the Separation Agreement. Despite all parties best intentions and due diligence, even the most sound and secure Legal Separation Agreements can miss a situation that comes to light after the agreement is in effect.
When a Legal Separation Agreement Can Be Changed
A separation agreement can change if it is based on fraud, collusion, mistake, duress which would be shocking to the public, contrary to public policy, or unreasonable to anyone with common sense. It could also change if it is extremely unfair. To prevent unfairness, there should always be full disclosure between the parties when creating or modifying an agreement. Assets are supposed to be divided equitably and fairly between the spouses, however, New York State Courts have routinely ruled that a party cannot claim a Separation Agreement is invalid or needs to be modified because the party undervalued an asset.
How to Modify an Separation Agreement
Parties that wish to modify should do so quickly. The New York Courts are more likely to modify or invalidate a separation agreement if the request is made close in time to when the agreement was signed by both parties. One attorney representing both parties is not necessarily unfair in regards to a Separation Agreement, but, it is a significant factor to be taken into consideration in determining fairness and whether the agreement will stay enforceable. An attorney representing both parties should fairly advise parties of the major issues and consequences of joint representation. In order to actually change the agreement, the parties usually get together, typically at a law firm or other neutral meeting place and try to mediate the agreement. In other words, the spouses should try to work out their differences or changes to the Separation Agreement outside of a Nassau County or Suffolk County Courtroom. If the couple cannot work out their differences with the help of their attorney, then, the party seeking to modify the agreement will need to commence what is known as a Plenary Action seeking to modify the agreement.
We’re Here to Help
At Robert E. Hornberger, Esq., P.C., we often assist clients seeking to either modify an existing separation agreement, as well as represent clients to defend against a spouse who is attempting to modify the agreement. Each case will be won or lost based upon the facts and experience of their Divorce Lawyer or Family Law Attorney. Our firm has successfully modified and prevented the modification of many separation agreements in Nassau County and Suffolk County Courts on Long Island, NY. If you feel your separation agreement is unfair and should be changed, or, your spouse is attempting to alter your agreement and you believe it to be fair, we are here to help. Call today at 631-923-1910 or fill out the short form on this page and we will be happy to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case and how we can help.