What are my rights if my ex-husband won’t agree to amending ourdivorce settlementif I was suffering from depression at the time thatI signed it?

My ex-husband filled out and filed our divorce documents and because I suffer from severe depression and anxiety I didn’t ask about anything or read anything I just signed. Now the original settlement is coming to an end and I am still suffering from severe depression after spending the term of the settlement trying everything. He is giving me a hard time about amending it and extending the duration of alimony even though he knows I have been unable to work consistently for the entire time I have known him. I feel like he took advantage of my condition.

Asked on August 25, 2011 Massachusetts


Stan Helinski / McKinley Law Group

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The problem is that you're just bringing up the issue when the alimony is ending, which raises a spector of illigitimacy--even if your claim is legitimate.  How long  ago was the agreement and stipulation? If the agreement is largely favorable to your ex-husband, your claim is more likely to succeed; however, success will be very difficult, particularly if you didn't read the document before signing it.  

J.V., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Good afternoon,

Thanks for reaching out and posting on our site. To get right to the point the best thing for you to do is hire an attorney. Because you signed the document now you are going to have to show the court you were not of sound mind when you did so. Specifically, ignorance is not an excuse which means your choosing not to read the document does not allow for you to have it modified. However, if you had a mental health problem and you can prove that led to you acting in this manner there is a chance it may be modified. Please note I say chance as it is not a guarantee.

I could assist you by telling you to go to the family court, ask the clerk for assistance, and file a request for modification, but honestly your situation is complex and one you really need an attorney for. There is a large burden of proof so you will want to be prepared to show at the time you signed this you were suffering a mental disorder.

Good luck

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