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Settlement Agreement Questions

What is a settlement agreement?

When two legally disputing parties arrive at a compromise or resolution in the form of an agreement, either prior to the trial or after the initial court procedures have started, it is termed as a settlement agreement. Usually such an agreement is submitted in court to legalize it as a court order. The court has the authority to modify the agreement as per the applicable law. Any party which breaches the contract will be held in contempt of court.

In a settlement agreement between an employer and employee, there was fraudulent coercion for four out of seven provisions. Do these provisions become voidable leaving the remaining provisions unaltered?

In most cases, if the contract has been signed based on dishonesty or fraud, the entire contract would be deemed void. However if the fraudulent inducement was related to one of the terms in the contract, only those terms could be voidable. This is done in rare circumstances because case law supports that when fraudulent inducement is involved, the whole contract should be canceled.

I defaulted on a settlement agreement over a year ago and the judge refused to cancel the judgment. The judgment was unfair and fraudulent. What can I do?

Despite the judgment being obtained through fraud, since it has been over a year, the time limit to appeal the judgment has passed. If you have new evidence or material to prove the fraud, you could file a new lawsuit and charge the defendant of fraud. The damages claimed would be equivalent to the amount of the existing judgment against you. Another option is if you have the money which could pay off your lawsuit, you should probably set it aside towards an asset protection plan and create a trust for your property or assets. A bankruptcy filing can also reverse the judgment based on the chapter being filed.

I am awaiting funds from an insurance company to pay off a settlement agreement. However the payment from the insurance company is being credited later than the due date of payment as per the settlement agreement. What can I do?

Generally when you enter into a contract with another party and owe them a certain amount of money payable on a certain date, defaulting on payment would imply breach of contract. Hence if you do not pay as per the stipulated date, the aggrieved party does have a right to claim you have breached the contract deeming it void and sue you for any damages they may have suffered. However contracts can be modified, hence you can request the other party for extra time and offer to pay an additional amount of money for this extension so that you could meet your obligation. If the other party is ready to accommodate your request, you would need to get this in writing to safeguard your interests and keep yourself protected during this additional time period.

What does the phrase “waives Epstein Credits” mean when referred to in a marital settlement agreement?

This reference is fairly common and customarily used language in California family law documents. This terminology is in reference to a major case involving “Watts Charges” and “Epstein Credits”. Epstein Credits is an alternate way for making a claim for reimbursement against community property to repay a community debt using separate assets. “Waiver” of Epstein credits entails the concerned parties is surrendering their right to do so.

I have discovered important information which was unknown to me prior to the time of settlement. Is it possible to annul and void a settlement agreement?

There is a possibility to void the settlement agreement if it was based on fraud and misrepresentation. However if it is a case of negligence where due diligence has not been taken and accessible facts were not related to the case were not determined and presented, then this would not form a basis to void a settlement agreement.

In Virginia, can I change the property settlement agreement after a divorce because of a significant change in income of the person paying the alimony and child support?

Division of property cannot be altered however due to the considerable change in income, alimony could be modified and child support is one of the components which can be readily modified.

A settlement agreement can be an amicable solution for disputing parties. It provides a platform for a level playing field and consensus on how the problem can be solved before it can get into legal formalities. As a party entering into a settlement agreement you should be aware of your rights, options, compromises, benefits, and so on. This is when Expert’s insights could prove to be very useful as well as necessary to clear your doubts.
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