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Vacating a Consent Order or Settlement Agreement in New Jersey

By Jamie Berger, Esq.

In mediation, divorce, civil union dissolution, matters of child support and child custody, as well as alimony and spousal support, it is critical that clients be aware and in agreement to the terms to which they will be bound to in the near and distant future.

For the most part, though each circumstance is fact sensitive, a consent order or settlement agreement cannot be vacated. Many people may not fully understand that the provisions of a settlement agreement or consent order are binding by law, and the court will enforce them accordingly. So it is important to consult with a knowledgable family law attorney to determine whether your order can be modified or vacated.

In accordance with the principals of New Jersey law, if both parties have voluntarily entered into a consent order or settlement agreement associated with their divorce, free of coercion or duress, and when the agreement is not unconscionable, the court shall uphold the order. Only if one’s attorney can provide new evidence that was accessible to both parties at the time that the respective clients signed the consent order, will a Family Part court modify or vacate a voluntary agreement? If not, a judge will dismiss an appeal of an order that is voluntarily consented to.

At Jacobs Berger, LLC, our family law attorneys have extensive experience helping clients to enforce and modify divorce orders across New Jersey. Our goal is to help our clients maintain the stability of their family life with their children and their finances, while simultaneously building the foundation for a prosperous and healthy future.

If you are concerned about the enforcement or modification of any aspect of your divorce settlement agreement, contact our firm today to discuss your unique situation and needs in a confidential case assessment.

Voluntary and Consensual Child Support Agreements in Morris County, NJ

In Brokaw v. Fedirko, the New Jersey Appellate Division held that a litigant cannot consent to a judgment and then appeal it. As in this case, a voluntary and consensual agreement can obligate child support beyond the age of eighteen and would be enforceable if it was found to be fair and equitable. However, the court remains free to modify a parental settlement agreement if circumstances change in a way that the provision would no longer be equitable and fair.

Because matrimonial settlement agreements are fundamentally consensual and voluntary in nature, they are considered valid and enforceable as long they are fair and just. Courts favor these types of agreements as they are a relatively peaceful means of terminating marital discord and disagreement. Rather than being governed by contract law, these terms are valid if found to be fair and just.

Default Divorce Judgement Relief in Monmouth County, NJ

Modifying or voiding a default divorce judgment, is difficult but still possible if:

  • The agreement is “unconscionable” (no reasonable person would agree to the terms)
  • The agreement was the product of fraud, intimidation, or overreaching by a party with marital authority.
  • Both parties made a mistake with a particular fact (such as the value of a home or property)
  • One party made a mistake or misrepresentation and then concealed it from the other.

The courts will review all of the pertinent facts of the case during your petition, and alter your existing marital settlement agreement if they find the settlement to be unjust, oppressive or inequitable.

Contact Our Morristown Post-Divorce Judgment Relief and Modification Attorneys Today

At the Morristown Law Office of Jacobs Berger, our family law attorneys have extensive experience helping clients across Chatham, Mendham, Morris Plains, Harding, Chester, Morristown, and surrounding areas to seek relief from unfair judgments and settlement agreements. Practicing exclusively in family law, our attorneys are intimately familiar with the modification process, and how to successfully petition the courts in order to protect you from unfair and oppressive divorce agreements. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

Contact Our Morristown Attorneys Today

At Jacobs Berger, our attorneys are experienced in protecting our clients across Madison, Randolph, Tewksbury, Morristown, and the greater Morris County area in all family law-related issues.

To schedule a strategic planning session with one of our experienced team members regarding your particular case, please contact us online or through our Morristown, NJ office at (973) 354-4506.