Simply because a couple decides to end a marriage does not mean that the process of dissolving their relationship has to be contentious. Instead, many parties are able to resolve their disputes without the intervention of the courts and will negotiate a marital settlement agreement resolving issues of custody, support, and property division. Marital settlement agreements are usually incorporated into divorce decrees and enforced by the courts. In some instances, however, a court will find sufficient grounds to set aside a marital settlement agreement, as explained in a recent New York opinion. If you wish to end your marriage, it is prudent to meet with a skillful New York divorce attorney to assess your options.
History of the Case
It is reported that the husband and the wife were divorced via a final judgment issued by the trial court in December 2016. Prior to the entry of the judgment, the parties entered into a marital settlement agreement, which was incorporated but not merged into the judgment. In June 2018, the trial court set forth an order finding that the husband owed the wife over $100,000 in child support and directing an entry of a money judgment against the husband.
Allegedly, the husband then filed an action asking the court to set aside the marital settlement agreement on the grounds of duress, fraud, overreaching, coercion, and unconscionability. The husband also filed a motion to stay the trial court order, after which the wife filed a motion to dismiss the husband’s action. The court denied the wife’s motion, after which she appealed. Continue reading