How to Reverse a Divorce Settlement

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People aren't always satisfied with their divorce outcomes. Though you can reverse, change or otherwise modify divorce settlement terms, this process requires specific steps and procedures depending on where you are in the divorce. Further, divorce laws differ between states, and what's possible in one isn't possible in another. You can get divorce settlements reversed, but much depends on the particulars of your case.

Talk to your lawyer. Changing or reversing any divorce settlement depends on what stage of the divorce you are in and what the state laws allow. Get your lawyer's advice about what you can and cannot do.

Negotiate new terms. You and your spouse can agree to new settlement terms as long as the court has not entered a final decree. Talk to your lawyer about what you want and try to negotiate new settlement terms. There is no guarantee your spouse will agree to the reversal, but you can always try.

Request a modification. You can change your divorce settlement after a court enters a divorce decree, but only in limited circumstances. Typically, you have to show that either you or your spouse experienced a significant change in circumstances that justifies the court's modification of the order. Some areas of the settlement, such as property distributions, are limited or even precluded from modifications once the court enters a divorce decree, so be sure you check with your attorney before asking for one.

File an appeal. In some cases you can reverse the court's settlement decision by filing an appeal. Appeals are complicated, require specific knowledge of the relevant laws and procedures and can be expensive. Ask your attorney about appeal options in your case before trying this strategy.


  • Seek qualified legal advice. Changing any settlement terms is complicated. Always get qualified legal advice from a licensed attorney or legal aid organization in your area.

About the Author

Roger Thorne is an attorney who began freelance writing in 2003. He has written for publications ranging from "MotorHome" magazine to "Cruising World." Thorne specializes in writing for law firms, Web sites, and professionals. He has a Juris Doctor from the University of Kansas.

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