What To Do If You Don’t Think Your Family Law Property Settlement Is Fair

by Matthew Elvin

Have you ever separated from a partner, agreed to a family law property settlement with them, and then later decided that you shouldn’t have settled for so little? It may sound unlikely, but it’s not that uncommon. Separation cause a lot of stress in a person’s life. Add to that the stress of (potential or actual) court proceedings and it’s not surprising that people don’t make the most rational decisions when agreeing to the distribution of the assets of the relationship. Whether you have had this happen to you, or you are just thinking about separating from your partner, you may be interested to learn about when a property settlement agreement can be varied or set aside after being finalised.

One of the most common scenarios people find themselves in is agreeing to settle for less because the alternative looks likely to be an expensive and time consuming court battle. For instance, your lawyer explains to you the cost, the stress and the time that the case could run for, so you decide that you’d prefer to move on with your life rather than go through that. So you agree to settle for less than you probably would have got in Court. This in itself is not enough to have the property settlement set aside.

However, this scenario can be contrasted with one involving deceit. For instance, your ex-partner deceives you by not disclosing all of their assets at the time you enter the property settlement agreement. If their failure to disclose assets was significant enough, you could successfully apply to the Court to have the property settlement set aside or varied. The Court can replace the property settlement with a new one which accounts for the hidden assets. Your ex-partner could also be charged with an offence.

Another scenario in which you may have the property settlement agreement successfully set aside or varied is if you were put under real duress to sign the settlement documentation. For instance, if you received a threat that someone will be hurt unless you sign the documents, this is probably duress.

There are other circumstances too which may lead to a property settlement being set aside or varied. If you suspect that something unethical, incorrect, unfair or improper has occurred, you should consider consulting a family lawyer. However, you should be aware that, as a general rule, it is difficult to successfully set aside or vary final property orders, and many applications to the Court fail.

If you have any questions about Family Law, do not hesitate to contact Theobald Lawyers for assistance.

Contact us to arrange a chat with one of our legal professionals. It doesn’t hurt to ask.