Reopening a Divorce Settlement Agreement

There was a case of interest recently reported in which one party to a divorce settlement (wife) asked the court to reopen the settlement, seeking to change the settlement terms. It is interesting, at least in part, because the one seeking to re-open the case and change the settlement agreement received some $15 million dollars in the settlement. Unsurprisingly, the wife has alleged that, very shortly after the settlement was agreed to and finalized, husband came into a disproportionately larger financial gain on the sale of a business interest he owned.

What makes the case slightly less interesting, at least in the legal sense, but even in that sense only slightly less interesting, is that the case is reported from Australia. A recurring theme in this space has been that the way that the law changes and evolves now is very different from how that used to happen. It is not just how rapidly the law now changes that is different, though it seems clear that the pace is much faster now than it was in the past. It is also the source of change and the readiness/willingness of authorities to accept sources and adopt changes is very different than it was in the pre-Internet/social-media/twitter-verse days. From all over the world now come these sources and this information, often followed instantaneously by both popular and critical support for a new idea, a different model, or even an all new paradigm.

Factually, the Australian parties finalized their divorce by agreement on April 27, 2015. Subsequently, it was revealed that “on or before April 16, 2015,” the husband had made inquiries about making a public offering on his business interests. He and his partners made the final decision to go public on May 1, 2015, four days after the divorce was finalized. The public offering produced some $93 million dollars for the husband. Wife, of course, has said that she knew nothing of this potential public offering and the anticipated pay-off it would yield. Accordingly, she now want the court to open the judgment so she can share in the $93 million dollar pay-day to husband.

Full disclosure is a vitally important aspect of any divorce settlement. It will be interesting to see if the Australian court agrees with husband that he was under no duty to provide any greater disclosure to wife than he did. Even without $93 million at issue, anyone negotiating or litigating a divorce settlement you should consult an experienced family law attorney before the matter is finalized.

To schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys or for further information, call us at the Law Office of Gregory P. LaMonaca, P.C., at (610) 892-3877.

LaMonacalaw Blog

About the author

About Lawrence Welsh

A funny thing happened to Larry (Lawrence C. Welsh) on the way to his professional career in the practice of law. After graduating from college and before entering law school, he took an extended tour through the hospitality industry, working his way through both the service and business sides of hotels, restaurants and resorts in six states and the District of Columbia. Taking the business acumen and the ever-watchful attention to detail so well-honed during that experience into his lifelong passion to practice law has led Larry to his position as Chief Legal Counsel and head of the firm’s Forensic Support Team. Before joining the firm, Larry worked in the public defender’s office, through which he added an array of advocacy skills and trial experience to his resume. Since joining the firm in 2003, Larry has handled a full range of family law issues, which he continues to do, while lending experience and direction to others in the firm, particularly where and when the resources of the Forensic Support Team are most appropriate. Larry is also licensed in New Jersey, and he leads the firm’s New Jersey team operations. Larry is a multi-year “Top Lawyer” honoree in Main Line Today magazine, and he has been named as an “Awesome/Top Attorney” for family law and divorce in Suburban Life Magazine. Larry is an active member of the bar associations and family law sections of Delaware County, Chester County, and the state of Pennsylvania.