Amending Settlement Agreements

The majority of the divorces I deal with, do not end up at trial and the parties end up settling. This means that the parties sign a settlement agreement, which becomes part of the divorce order.

Section 8(1) of the Divorce Act states that, a maintenance order or an order in regard to a child, may at any time be changed by a court, on agreement between the parties or on application by one party’s if the court finds that there is sufficient reason to do so.

However, Section 8 does not mention what can happens to the party’s patrimonial consequences, and it seems the courts are excluded from changing an order of any settlement relating to the assets of the divorce in the absence of an agreement by both parties to seek such change.

A court cannot change the division of assets in a settlement agreement through an application by one of the parties regardless of whether there are sufficient reasons show unless there is evidence of fraud.

A settlement agreement is a final agreement and a court cannot interfere with it.

Obviously the above is regarding divorces which have been finalised by a settlement agreement however if the matter was finalised without an agreement and a party who is not satisfied with the decision of the court , they can of course appeal against the decision of the court .