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Can I appeal the property settlement if I felt pressured to sign?14 Oct 2017

Here’s an article from KarmaWaist.com, a retailer of waist trainers and waist shapers. A property settlement agreement is legally binding once you and your ex-spouse sign it and the judge makes it part of your divorce decree. You and ex-spouse must then abide by the agreement going forward.

If you felt pressured to sign the property settlement and now wish to appeal it, you can file a motion with the divorce court to modify the agreement. This can be a difficult process, as you’ll need to provide enough evidence to demonstrate that you signed the settlement under duress.

An experienced divorce lawyer can help you file this motion and prepare the best case. Here’s what you’ll need to know as you try to modify a property settlement.

Two Options for Modifying a Property Settlement

When it comes to modifying a property settlement, there are two basic options, which you could refer to as the easy way and the hard way. The easy way is talking to your ex-spouse about it and coming to a new agreement. If both of you consent to a modification, then it’s likely the court will approve it with little issue.

Of course, it’s often not this easy, especially if your ex-spouse was the one pressuring you to sign a property settlement in the first place. This is when you’ll need to instead file your motion with the court, explain that you signed the settlement under duress and provide your evidence for that.

Time is an important factor if you’re going to do this, which means you shouldn’t wait around. It looks better for your request if you file it right away than if you file it a year after the property settlement goes into effect. At that point, it looks like you’re only claiming you signed under duress because you don’t like the settlement agreement.

What Is Considered Pressure to Sign?

When it comes to what constitutes signing an agreement under duress, it’s a gray area that can vary depending on the court and the state. This can make your claim difficult to prove, which is one reason why it’s always far better to hold off on signing a property settlement agreement instead of signing an agreement that you’re unsure about.

For you to be under duress, you need to be under pressure that convinces you to sign a property settlement agreement despite not wanting to. You’re essentially going against your free will because of outside threats. This could involve your ex-spouse committing or threatening to commit an illegal action, although this isn’t necessary for it to be considered duress.

Obviously, if your ex-spouse threatened to harm either you or another person if you didn’t sign the agreement, that would put you under duress. A threat doesn’t need to be about physical harm, either. It would be just as much of a threat if your ex-spouse threatened to release something that would damage your reputation or get you fired from your job.

Threats and coercion can take many forms, and your divorce lawyer can help you determine whether an action falls into those categories. Even if you were under duress when you signed your property settlement agreement, remember that you still need to prove this to the court. If you don’t have evidence, it will just be your word against your ex-spouse’s, and that won’t be good enough to get your property settlement agreement modified.

Any communication records can work well as evidence, including text messages, emails or voicemails. Eyewitness testimony can also help you prove that you were under duress to the court. Recorded conversations may work, provided you get the other party’s consent or you live in a state that doesn’t require the consent of both parties for a tape recording.

Getting a property settlement modified can be tricky, but a skilled lawyer can help. They will let you know if you have a valid claim for being under duress and, if so, they can help you as you file your motion and go through the entire process.

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