The best way to avoid an unfair a settlement agreement is to not sign one in the first place. Texas law makes it extremely difficult to undo a settlement agreement. Here are some tips to avoid an unfair settlement agreement and a response to common myths about your ability to challenge a settlement agreement after you sign it.
Avoiding the Trap of an Unfair Divorce Settlement
Hiring an Austin divorce lawyer and preparing your case for settlement is the best way to avoid an unfair settlement. Here are some tips to better prepare for settlement and feel good about your agreement:
- Gather the information you need to fully understand your case. This can include exchanging financial documents, getting formal appraisals of your assets, obtaining records pertaining to your children, or other information your lawyer recommends. This process will take time, but it is better to go through the process than to rush into an agreement without sufficient information to make a good decision. Check out our divorce process guide for an explanation of these steps.
- Ask Your Lawyer to Explain the Settlement Agreement in Detail. Settlement agreements are often summaries of agreements that the lawyers will later put into a court order for a judge to sign. For example, a settlement agreement may say that one parent will have a “Standard Possession Order” visitation schedule. These three words in a settlement agreement will morph into six pages in a decree of divorce. You should understand what you are signing and ask your lawyer every question you have before you sign it.
- If You Are Uncertain, Do Not Sign the Agreement. There comes a point in many settlement negotiations where you just cannot give any more. Forcing yourself beyond this point often leads to unhappiness with an agreement. Your divorce lawyer may strongly advise you to take an agreement based on his or her experience and knowledge of your case. But, signing a settlement agreement is ultimately up to you. If you reach this point, talk to your lawyer about other options. This may mean going to court, and you need to consider the financial cost of doing so when evaluating an offer on the table. You may also be able to resume settlement negotiations at a later date, after you have had time to reflect and review whatever information you need to feel comfortable with the agreement.
Common Myths About Undoing a Settlement Agreement
Here are some common myths about undoing a divorce settlement.
How We Can Help
Our Austin divorce lawyers can help you prepare for mediation and settlement in your case. In rare circumstances, you may be able to challenge a settlement agreement. Please contact our office and schedule an appointment with one of our lawyers to discuss settlement in your case.