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Overturning A Divorce Settlement

New Jersey residents who have gotten divorced often wonder if they have any recourse if they are unhappy with the settlement after the divorce has been completed. While there are options for a person who is displeased with the results of a divorce, they are limited and restricted by time. Because of these issues, it is important to act as soon as possible in an effort to make changes to the divorce settlement once the litigation is over.

The choices available for an individual who wants to take steps to change the terms of the settlement include a motion to reconsider or set aside judgments made in the case, requesting an appeal, or asking for a modification.

Overturning A New Jersey Divorce Settlement

judge with gavel

During the divorce proceeding, if you believe that the judge committed an error that significantly infringed upon your rights and negatively influenced your desired results in the divorce, your attorney can move to have the decision reconsidered. This opportunity is available to both spouses in a divorce if there is a belief that there was a mistake made by the judge in his or her application of the law. A motion to reconsider must be filed within twenty days after the final judgment or proceeding.

Another choice, depending on the circumstances, is to request that the judgment be set aside. This is an option when new evidence is discovered by one spouse. If this new evidence is discovered, the judgment can be set aside even after the twenty days have elapsed. Other instances in which there can be a setting aside of the judgment is if there is a discovery of fraud, a mistake or excusable neglect. If the other spouse lied about the assets he or she might have had or committed another form of misconduct, then this too falls into the category of being eligible for a setting aside of the judgment.

In general, the time limit for a judgment to be set aside is one year. However, if there is a particularly egregious example of misconduct or a mistake made, then the judgment can be set aside even if a year has passed.

If a spouse does not appear in court for a divorce litigation, the court is likely to render a default verdict. Even if there was never a signed agreement regarding the divorce, it will still be necessary to present a sound reason for the spouse's failure to appear in court. It is, however, possible that the court will give the spouse who was judged to be in default an opportunity to present evidence in the case.

Reopening A Divorce Case In New Jersey

There are certain instances in which it is possible to request an appeal on a divorce settlement. Appeals in divorce judgments are rare, costly and work infrequently. With the attorney having to go through the entire case and pay for court filings and transcripts from the proceeding, as well as the potential of having to pay for the former spouse's attorney fees, it might not be worth it.

scales of justice

The times in which an appeal is worth a try include: if the court abused discretion; if there was not a full hearing in an appropriate circumstance; if there was not a resolution in all disputes in the proceeding; if the law was not applied correctly; and if the findings of fact were not adequately completed.

In the event that any of these circumstances have occurred, then it is possible than an appellate court will reverse the decision or tell the court to take further action. As stated previously, these types of rulings are rare.

A modification to the decision is more likely than the aforementioned appeals and reconsideration requests. A modification is not the same thing as an appeal or a motion to reconsider. Certain aspects of the settlement such as child support, custody and visitation rights can be revisited and changed if the circumstances surrounding the situation change.

Speak To An Experienced New Jersey Divorce Attorney

While there are parameters that must be adhered to when requesting to overturn or changes to a divorce settlement, it is still worth considering when there are mistakes made or a justifiable reason for the terms to be altered. If you or a loved one are in need of legal advice regarding a divorce, reconsideration of an order of the court, appeal or modification in Monmouth County, Ocean County or anywhere else in New Jersey, it is important to speak to an attorney at the Law Firm of Villani & DeLuca, P.C. in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey.

Whether you are from Red Bank, Long Branch, Spring Lake Heights, Sea Girt or any other town in New Jersey, Villani & DeLuca, P.C. can help. Call us at 732-751-4991 today for information on Modifying a Divorce Decree in NJ!

Vincent DeLuca, Esq.

As a founding partner at Villani & DeLuca, Vincent DeLuca is one of only a few Certified Matrimonial Law Attorney in Ocean County, New Jersey. Mr. DeLuca has helped many clients navigate the delicate details of their own divorce. Mr. DeLuca is also a trained divorce mediator and collaborative divorce attorney. Call today at (732) 751-4991 to speak to Mr. DeLuca or one of our experienced NJ Divorce Lawyers.