Once your divorce is over and your documents are signed, it can feel like you can finally move forward with your life. After everything is said and done, the last thing you want is to have to go back to court over a divorce term. However, there can be circumstances when a Wisconsin divorce court may need to change or set aside a judgment. If you have concerns about your Wisconsin divorce being finished, you need to know: Can I change my final Wisconsin divorce terms?
When can Final Wisconsin Divorce Terms be Changed?
A family court has the authority to modify a property division under Wisconsin law for the following reasons.
- Mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect;
- Newly-discovered evidence which entitles a party to a new trial under s. 805.15 (3);
- Fraud, misrepresentation, or other misconduct of an adverse party;
- The judgment is void;
- The judgment has been satisfied, released, or discharged;
- A prior judgment upon which the judgment is based has been reversed or otherwise vacated;
- It is no longer equitable that the judgment should have prospective application; or
- Any other reasons justifying relief from the operation of the judgment.
By law, a motion to modify must be made within a reasonable time and, if based on mistake or fraud, not more than one year after the judgment was entered or the order or stipulation was made. A motion based on newly discovered evidence it must be made within the time provided under the law.
This type of motion does not affect the finality of a judgment or suspend its operation. Further, the applicable law does not limit the power of a court to entertain an independent action to relieve a party from a judgment, order, or proceeding or to set aside a judgment for fraud on the court.
When do Parties File to Set Aside Judgements?
In many instances, a party will seek relief from the court when they believe their former spouse failed to make a full financial disclosure or was dishonest during discovery. For example, suppose the parties agreed to a marital property settlement, and it is later discovered that one spouse has a secret bank account that they did not disclose during the divorce. In that circumstance, the injured spouse could ask the court to modify the judgment to consider this asset. However, the court cannot set aside a judgment simply because a party changed their mind or regrets the decisions they made during the case.
Divorce Judgements and Reconciliation
The law also provides that “the court may vacate or modify the judgment for sufficient cause shown, upon its own motion, or the application of both parties” at any time within six months from the granting of the judgment if it shall restore the parties to the marital relationship that existed before the granting of the judgment.
Child Custody Modification
After divorce, parents may want or need to change their child’s custody, placement, and support terms. Under Wisconsin law, these changes are usually not permitted until at least two years after the terms have been finalized. However, if the party seeking modification can show by substantial evidence that the modification is necessary because the current custodial conditions are physically or emotionally harmful to the best interest of the child, the court may decide to grant the requested modification.
If you believe a term from your divorce judgment may need to be set aside or modified, you should contact an experienced Wisconsin divorce attorney to discuss your concerns. You and your Wisconsin divorce attorney can evaluate your case and review your post-judgment options.
Contact an Experienced Wisconsin Divorce Attorney
Wisconsin Attorney and Mediator Karyn Youso of First Look Family Law is an attorney and Mediator with the experience you need to help you both during and after your Wisconsin divorce or child custody case. She understands the complexities of navigating divorce and child custody at every stage of the case. If you have a case in Metro Milwaukee, Waukesha, or Brookfield, please contact us today and let us take a “first look” at your situation.