- On April 13, 2016
My husband and I just signed a divorce agreement. We want to reconcile. Will this affect our agreement?
About six months ago, my wife filed for divorce. We each hired attorneys and worked out a divorce settlement agreement. The process made us reflect on the years that we spent together and our children. We decided not to continue with the divorce. We continued living together as a family. After five years, discord crept into our relationship and I filed for Divorce. Is our divorce agreement still effective? Do we have new marital rights arising out of the time we continued to live together?The law provides that the provisions of your divorce agreement that have not yet been acted upon, but remain “executory”, are deemed to be abrogated, that is nullified. The provisions that have been completed, “executed”, are unaffected by the reconciliation. These rules apply unless the parties can demonstrate, by contract or conduct that they intended otherwise.
This rule of law can certainly leave married partners in troubled waters. For example, if the Agreement required each party to transfer an asset to the other, and before reconciliation occurred only one of the transfers took place, that transfer is unaffected, but the obligation for the other party to make his or her transfer is nullified. Since the marital enterprise continued without interruption until the Complaint for Divorce was again filed, if the asset that was transferred increased in value because of marital efforts, the incremental increase of value contributed by the other spouse would be subject to equitable distribution. The entirety of the asset that wasn’t transferred would remain subject to equitable distribution.
Reconciliation can result in unintended consequences. While some may not be able to be mitigated, the facts unique to each set of circumstances will be considered by the Family Court to fairly resolve all marital disputes. If you had consulted with a family attorney before committing yourself to reconciliation, the divorce agreement could have been amended to avoid the unintended consequences, and reduce your legal fees.