Most divorces in Georgia end in settlement.  Sometimes it happens in negotiations between parties or their attorneys, oftentimes it happens in mediation, and sometimes it even happens in the middle of a final trial.  Regardless of how or when the settlement of your divorce occurs, once a signed Settlement Agreement is in place it is very difficult to undo.

Even though you may be very happy with how things settled, or just happy that the battle is over, sometimes buyer’s remorse sets in a few days, or weeks, later.   Divorce Settlements are looked at as a negotiated contract that you have entered into freely.  Once signed and filed with the Court, the are incorporated into the Final Judgment and Decree of Divorce granted by a judge.  So when you come back after all the i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed and file a Motion to Set Aside, a judge is not likely to be happy with you unless you can show cause why it should not be upheld.  The situations that can convince a judge to set aside an agreement or order: fraud, misrepresentation or non-disclosure of material facts (there’s a secret account somewhere), or incapacity to enter into agreements (you were drunk, drugged, or mentally incompetent).

You’ll have to provide evidence to back up your Motion to Set Aside, so unless you can clearly show one of those factors existed and but for the fraud, misrepresentation or incapacity you would not have signed the agreement, a judge is highly unlikely to set aside a final judgment incorporating an agreement.  Even in situations where you can show that not all financial assets were disclosed, if you were aware that full discovery was not completed and you “had a feeling” that the other party was not disclosing all assets but you signed it anyway, it is unlikely the agreement will be set aside. 

So, unless you are 100 percent sure that you know you and your spouse’s full finances it is always a good idea to complete discovery and have financial affidavits filed with the Court, even in uncontested divorces. That way, if your ex-husband cashes in a previously undisclosed, year-old winning lotto ticket just two days after your divorce is finalized, you can take him back to court to set aside the Final Judgment and Decree based on his misrepresentation.

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AuthorAdriana Torriente