Navigating the aftermath of a divorce can be as complex as the process itself, especially when circumstances change, necessitating a revision of the original agreement. Our firm often encounters individuals dissatisfied with their do-it-yourself divorce agreements or those containing significant errors. In Pennsylvania, while the law allows for modifications to divorce agreements, there are specific and limited reasons under which revisions may be made.
Reasons to Dispute a Marital Agreement:
In the Keystone State, disputing a marital agreement post-divorce is not taken lightly. To modify an existing agreement, there must be a substantial change in circumstances since the original order was entered. Contrary to common belief, dissatisfaction with the terms of the agreement is not enough reason to dispute it.
Common Issues with Marital Agreements: Often, we meet clients who claim they did not fully understand the implications of their agreements, felt pressured into signing them, or were unaware of their rights during the process. These situations can lead to feelings of resentment and dissatisfaction later on. It is also not uncommon for those who draft their own agreements to find significant errors or omissions, which may lead to complications down the line.
Role of an Attorney: This is where the expertise of a seasoned attorney proves invaluable. An attorney can ensure that you are fully informed about your rights and obligations under the law, help you avoid common pitfalls, and work to protect your interests. They can review any agreement for potential issues, rectify errors, and propose modifications if needed. By seeking legal counsel, you can navigate post-divorce modifications with confidence and avoid complex issues that might arise in the future.
Here are common grounds for modification of a divorce settlement agreement:
- Fraud or Undisclosed Assets: Discovering that your ex-spouse hid assets during the divorce proceedings.
- Significant Change in Circumstances: This may include a substantial change in income, remarriage, or a change in the needs of children.
- Error or Inaccuracy in the Original Agreement: For instance, if property division was based on incorrect values or information.
When To Consider Modifying Your Divorce Agreement: A divorce agreement may not be set in stone. Consider seeking a modification if:
- You or your ex-spouse’s financial situation has changed dramatically.
- Your children’s living arrangements or needs have evolved significantly since the original agreement.
Who Qualifies to Modify a Divorce Agreement: Not everyone can modify a divorce agreement in Pennsylvania. You must demonstrate:
- A substantial and ongoing change in circumstances.
- That the modification would serve the best interests of any children involved.
Legal Limitations According to PA Law:
Under Pennsylvania law, certain restrictions apply when seeking to modify a divorce settlement agreement. It is important to note that these modifications do not happen automatically. Changes to property division and the division of marital assets once decided and finalized in the initial divorce decree, generally cannot be modified at a later date.
Additionally, any modification request should be done in a timely manner. Delaying may impede the chances of a successful modification. Always consult with a legal expert to understand your rights and obligations under Pennsylvania law when considering modifications to your divorce agreement.
- How Do I Change My Divorce Agreement in PA? Start by consulting with a family law attorney to assess the validity of your reasons for modification.
- What Is a Pennsylvania Post-Decree Modification Order? It is a legal order issued by a court to change the terms of your divorce agreement after it has been finalized.
If you find yourself on the receiving end of a request for modification of your divorce settlement agreement or if you believe your divorce settlement contained errors and needs a second look, we suggest scheduling a consultation with an attorney. Modifications to a divorce agreement can have lasting implications. Contact our legal team to see discuss your case and how the law may impact the modification of your divorce settlement agreement.