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Can I Refuse to Sign the Property Settlement if I Felt Pressured to Sign?
What is a Property Settlement Agreement & Do I Have to Sign it?
What is it?
It is documentation that dictates who gets the property, in the event of a separation or divorce. They are sometimes called “spousal agreements” They are binding, under a court of law. They must be signed by the judge. These documents cannot be terminated unless you show the judge sufficient evidence and reason. The judge also has to sign off on it.
Both parties have to sign it for it to be “legal”.
How Does the Judge Decide Who Gets What?
The judge decides based on several factors, including how long the couple was married. The judge also considers the date you separated. Some couples agree to a divorce but do not separate until months after.
The judge will also look at if and when there is a trial. Some couples are lucky to avoid that altogether.
The judge will then look at the final date when everything comes to a close. Some trials take months to be completed. The judge will also look at the value of the property or properties. Some assets are worth more than others.
Can Anyone Be Forced into Signing the Agreement?
No, technically they cannot, not even the judge can force the person. As I said, both parties have to agree to the terms for everything to be validated and legally binding. You can refuse to sign if you feel someone else is trying to force your hand on the matter. The courts and judges do consider that when looking over the facts.
What Happens When a Settlement Becomes Invalidated?
There are a few reasons why the agreement might be considered “invalid”.
1) A mistake could have been, which affects both parties, and the distribution of the property. In that case, a new draft would be drawn. Everything has to be mutually agreed upon and understood for the draft to work.
2) Sometimes one spouse misleads the other. That is when fraud occurs. The courts will call for a new draft to be made.
3) The act of coercion has been committed if one party tries to influence and force the other person to sign. As I said, that is something the courts frown upon.
Legally speaking, one party cannot ask for a redraft without the other party’s permission. Some call that the unconscionable agreement. Both people have to agree for it to work.
What Happens When the Documents Become Invalidated?
It depends on the situation. Some courts will order a redraft that benefits both people. Some states will use the Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act UMDA). That is when the courts divide the property in a manner they feel that is right.
Visit leg.state.fl.us for more information on a property settlement agreement and what it could mean for you.