Actor Terrence Howard and his ex-wife, Michelle, have been arguing over the spousal support section of their settlement agreement for years. Under the settlement agreement, Terrence was paying Michelle $5,800/month in spousal support. Two years ago, Terrence had the settlement agreement overturned after convincing the court that Michelle had blackmailed him and forced him to sign the agreement under duress. Terrence Howard: Ex-Wife Wins Appeal…He'll Have to Pay Up After All, tmz.com, October 2, 2017. Michelle appealed and the appellate court agreed with her, reinstating the settlement agreement. Specifically, the court noted that he was not under duress because "too much time had passed between the threat and Terrence signing the agreement." In addition, the court said that Terrence had other options to the alleged blackmail, such as going to the police.
In this case, the court said that Terrence merely had
"buyer's remorse" after signing the agreement which is not sufficient to get
him out of it. Unfortunately, this is something that can happen in a divorce
case. Sometimes, agreements are signed after hours, or even days, of mediation.
Sometimes, parties and their attorneys have been going back and forth for
months hammering out the settlement terms. In both of these circumstances,
there can be a desire to just get it done so the parties can move on with their
lives, which is completely understandable after the exhaustion of seemingly
never-ending negotiation. However, it is important to take a step back and
really read the final agreement before signing to make sure it is something
with which you are comfortable. Therefore, if you need to sleep on it, crunch
some more numbers to make sure you can afford it, or just read it over again,
make sure you do so. Once you sign, it is extremely difficult, if not
impossible, to get out of it absent duress or mistake.