It is commonly held that the best divorce settlement is one wherein neither side is happy. While this statement may seem odd to most, it indicates that the settlement is the result of both parties’ reasonable negotiations, and each’s willingness to be flexible. While the conduct and agenda of both parties are certainly determinative as to whether a reasonable settlement can be reached, there are other significant factors which must be addressed.
A fair and reasonable settlement in the first instance is one which has been entered into without coercion and/or duress. If either is patently present, the agreement itself will be susceptible to subsequent challenge. In addition, the settlement must be the result of full financial disclosure or knowing waivers in connection with the assets and liabilities.
It is imperative that parties understand and review each and every settlement term with his/her attorney before executing the agreement. While modifications to some of the settlement terms may be possible in the future, this will require post-judgment litigation and high burdens of proof.