Can we change the settlement agreement if we didn’t use a lawyer?

Yes. If you did not use a lawyer when you and your spouse decided on a settlement agreement, you can still change your settlement agreement. This change to the agreement is also known as a modification. You can change your settlement agreement if three things occur.

First, you both most agree to the changes. If you both do not agree to the changes, you may need a Supplemental Petition to modify your settlement agreement. You will be required to show that you had substantial changes since the order approving the original settlement agreement. This is often a tricky (and expensive) problem in family law cases.

Second, you must write down the changes that you want to your settlement agreement. This is best to do in its own separate document. Do not try to make the changes on the original document. Write out the changes you want to your settlement agreement with as much detail and specifics as possible.

Third, you must sign your change the same way you signed the original agreement. For example, if your settlement agreement had both of your signatures and a notary’s signature, the modification to the agreement must also have both of your signatures and a notary’s signature. If your settlement agreement had both of your signatures and two witnesses’ signatures, then your modification to the agreement must have both of your signatures and two witnesses’ signatures.

Modifications may be tricky and you may want to consider speaking with an experienced family law attorney to make sure the modification says what you want it to say and that the court would understand the changes you made.

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