– from Betty F. in North Prairie, WI

Question Details:

A few years ago, my husband and I decided to get a divorce. We went through most of the process, and I had agreed on a cash settlement instead of dividing the property. We ended up reconciling and did not go through with the divorce. Now, we have agreed that a divorce is in both of our best interests. He still has the document that I signed that stated I agree to a cash settlement instead of property, but I changed my mind. Is that document still valid? Will it be upheld?

Family Law Attorney Response:

I would need a little more detail as to the conditions and details of the contract. If you signed an agreement a few years ago, during the initial divorce proceedings that were never finalized, then it may be understood that your intentions were to settle that specific case and not any forthcoming cases. This would also depend on the wording in the contract. Also, was the contract made before a judge, or witnessed, or was it notarized? More than likely, that contract will not be admissible in these proceedings.

In the case of Thorpe v. Thorpe, 108 Wis. 2d 189, 321 N.W.2d 237 (1982), a similar situation occurred. The wife, however, had received the settlement during the first proceeding, but the divorce was never made final and the couple reconciled. The wife had spent most of the awarded settlement prior to reconciliation. When the couple decided to finalize their divorce sometime later, it was ultimately decided that the wife was entitled to the division of the marital property. This is one scenario. The outcome of your case would depend on the details of your contract.

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My advice would be to seek the legal representation of a family law attorney right away to go over the details, and begin a beneficial course of action.

Lawyer Jeff Hughes from Sterling Law Offices, S.C.
Jeff Hughes, J.D.

Managing Partner

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