Is there a way to stop alimony after the papers have been signed?

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Is there a way to stop alimony after the papers have been signed?

i was married for 9 years and have been divorced for 2 years. My ex wife, a paralegal, told me that she was legally obligated to receive alimony when we divorced. She drove us to the lawyer and felt if I didn’t sign she would leave me there. I would have been abandoned since she got both cars and the house. She recently she won $100,000 from a scratcher lottery ticket. Is there any way that I can stop paying her alimony?

Asked on October 6, 2018 under Family Law, Missouri

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

No, you can't, not based on what you write. While it is true you can void an agreement due to fraud, fraud is not merely that the other side lied to you--you must have *reasonably* relied on what they said. Reasonable reliance involves having a reason to trust it and having no way to verify or confirm or check what was said. However:
1) There is no reason to believe what your soon-to-be-ex-spouse says about alimony: why would any reasonable person think she is not simply trying to get as much from you as she can? 
2) You could have easily retained your own lawyer to see what you alimony obligations would likely have been--you had the same access to an attorney as her or any other person.
And as for worrying that she'd "leave you" at the lawyer's office--that's what cabs, Uber, mass transit, and/or friends/families with cars are for; there is any number of ways to have gotten home, so that is not a threat anyone would consider forced you to sign. (E.g. it would be more reasonable to sign papers to pay money for life rather than pay $40 or $50, etc. for a cab ride home?)
Your reliance on what she told you was not reasonable, so you could not rely on it; therefore, it was not fraud. And her winning money afterwards does not in any way impact your alimony obligation unless the agreement says that if she won (or inherited, etc.) a certain amount, you could reduce or stop alimony.


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