Can I get copies of the information used for financial disclosure?
When you get married, you get married to spend the rest of your life with your spouse. You agree to stay together through sickness and health, and you agree to stay together for better or for worse. Unfortunately, many people make the decision to forgo their vows and spend their time doing things that don’t make the other happy. Perhaps your spouse cheated and you can’t deal with it with forgiveness. Perhaps you married a man who turned out to be abusive. Perhaps you simply don’t love your wife anymore and you want to get a divorce.
Whatever the case, you don’t want to be married anymore. Dissolving your marriage is the only way to go about changing your life, and you begin the process of divorce. Part of that process is disclosing specific information to your attorneys or the court. This information includes all your financial paperwork, and it’s used in a process called discovery. Discovery is when the court finds out what you have in terms of assets, liabilities, and other financial means. It’s used to determine who gets what, what is divided, and how things are exchanged throughout the divorce. It’s also used to determine child support, alimony, and it’s even factored into the child custody situation if you have kids involved.
Can I get copies of financials?
In some marriages, one person handles all the financial situations. This means they work hard to ensure the bills are paid, the accounts are filled, and things are in order. Both spouses sometimes talk about this or have access to this information, but that’s simply not how it works in many marriages. Perhaps one spouse works and the other stays home with the kids. The working spouse might have more control over the finances, and he might be the one who handles the bills, the budget, and the savings.
That leaves his wife out of the loop in terms of their finances. In other situations, both parties are perfectly aware of the finances, and they share the responsibility. Once you submit all that paperwork to the court, you might want to make sure your spouse is being honest about his or her income, assets, and debts. This means you want to see copies of the paperwork outlining your spouse’s financials once they’re submitted. You have that right, and you should ask for it.
Mandatory disclosure offers you the right to ask for that paperwork. You have a right to see what your spouse is saying he or she makes so you can be honest with the court about what is going on. If your spouse is attempting to hide some income or accounts so they don’t have to pay you as much alimony or child support, it’s lying.
Call an Attorney
An attorney can help you get through this process by making sure you know your rights. You’re not in the dark when it comes to your financials even in a court of law. Even if you are perfectly aware of the financial situation in which you’re in, you want to check to be sure your spouse is not hiding information from the court. This is your right, and your attorney can help you handle this situation when it arises.
Can I appeal the property settlement if I felt pressured to sign?
Emotions nearly always run high in divorce cases. With that said, when a party to a divorce case makes a decision regarding the settlement of an issue in the case, that decision must be made freely and voluntarily. In other words, no matter the emotional intensity of a particular divorce case, when a party makes a decision on an issue in a marriage dissolution proceeding, that decision cannot be coerced or the result of undue pressure.
One area in which the risk of feeling pressured exists is in the regard to the property settlement agreement in a divorce case. The property settlement agreement is the legal document that sets forth the agreements reached by the parties to a divorce case in regard to the assets and debts of a marriage. In the alternative, the parties may enter into a broader divorce settlement agreement, which resolves all issues in the case, including those associated with property and debt.
Property Settlement Agreement is a Binding Contract
A property settlement agreement is a binding contract. As such, the standard rules regarding the signing of a contract come into play.
These rules include that the person signing the contract must have the mental capacity to understand what he or she is doing. A person signing a settlement agreement needs to understand the content of that document.
As is the case with any contract, and as has been referenced a moment ago, a person cannot be pressured into signing a property settlement agreement. The reality is that in a divorce case, pressure associated with forcing agreement to a property settlement agreement can come in many forms. These include threats, deception, and other types of coercion.
Relief from a Settlement Agreement You Signed Under Pressure
If you were pressured to sign a property settlement agreement, you do have recourse. The first line of recourse available to you is in the divorce court, assuming your case is still pending or only recently came to a conclusion.
You, or your attorney, can file a motion to set aside the property settlement agreement. In the motion you delineate the specific factors supporting your contention that you were forced to sign the property settlement agreement.
Once the motion is filed, the court is likely to schedule a hearing in a fairly short period of time. There is the possibility that when the motion is filed, the other party will agree to allowing the settlement agreement to be set aside in order to avoid what could prove to be uncomfortable court proceedings.
If your divorce case only very recently ended, and provided your case meets time requirements and related issues, you may have the ability to appeal the case to an appellate court. Through the appeal you can argue that the settlement agreement should be set aside because you somehow were forced or pressured to sign it.
You need to understand that in many ways the procedures associated with appealing a divorce case are even more complicated than those associated with the divorce or trial court. Therefore, you likely best protect your legal interests when it comes to appealing whether or not you voluntarily signed a property settlement agreement by hiring a skilled, experienced lawyer. There at lawyers the specialize in appellate cases. In addition, there are attorneys that specialize further in divorce cases that are appealed.