A marital settlement agreement is changed by mutual consent of both spouses (or former spouses, depending on the timing of the desired alteration). In some rare instances, one spouse can file a motion with the court to amend a marital settlement agreement if the interests of justice requires such a modification.
Identify the specific provision (or provisions) in the marital settlement agreement requiring modification.
Negotiate with your spouse (or ex-spouse) to reach agreement as to the modification you believe is necessary. Keep in mind that the negotiation process is one of give and take.
Redraft a marital settlement agreement. You can draft an amendment only, and attach it to the original agreement. By inserting the new or amended provision into the text of the initial agreement, you avoid confusion in the future.
Caption the revised marital settlement agreement in such a way so as to make it clear that it is an amended version, and the agreement that currently controls issues between you and your spouse. A common designation is "First Amended Marital Settlement Agreement."
Include the date that the amended marital settlement agreement takes effect.
Spell out clearly in the amended document that it replaces the original marital settlement agreement. Note the date of the original agreement to avoid confusion as to what document is referred to in the amended contract.
Sign three copies of the agreement so that both you and your spouse (or ex-spouse) have an original, and one available to file with the court in your divorce case.
File an original of the amended marital settlement agreement with the clerk of the court in your divorce case.
- Altering a marital settlement agreement can be a challenging task. You are well served, in many instances, retaining an attorney to assist you with such a matter. Local and state bar associations usually maintain directories of attorneys in different practice areas, including in the family law arena. Contact information for these organizations is available through the American Bar Association.
- "Essential Guide to Divorce”; Emily Doskow; 2008
- Cornell Law School: Divorce Overview
- "The Divorce Organizer & Planner”; Brette Sember; 2004