After the final judgment in your California divorce is issued, chances are that you feel obtain some relief from it. However, in exceptional situations, you might believe that you have grounds to set aside the divorce judgment. Discuss your legal position carefully with your Orange County divorce lawyer to determine whether you want to petition the court to set aside the decision. Under California law, you can file this petition on certain grounds.
According to the California Family Code, in limited circumstances, the court may grant a set aside even six months after the divorce judgment. The following grounds may be considered to set aside a divorce judgment:
If your ex-spouse intentionally hid critical facts from you, such as a significant community property, or otherwise acted in a way that hindered your meaningful engagement in the divorce process, you could use actual fraud as the grounds to have your judgment set aside. You will have one year from the date you became aware of the fraud (or should have known about it) to file a motion for set aside.
A perjury may have occurred if your ex-spouse lied about their disclosures related to income, expenses, assets, or debts. You could use perjury as the grounds to obtain a set aside on your divorce judgment. The time limit for filing this set aside motion is the same as in the case of Fraud.
You may have signed the divorce settlement agreement against your will and under duress from your ex-spouse. For instance, your ex-spouse may have threatened to expose some damaging or embarrassing information about you to your family or your employer, or may have indicated some kind of harm against your kids. And you may have signed the agreement under fear or pressure.
Psychological or emotional coercion, misuse of financial control, or threats could qualify as duress. You can file a motion for set aside of the divorce judgment on these grounds within two years from the date of divorce decree.
Mental incapacity at the time of signing the divorce agreement could be valid grounds for having your divorce judgment set aside. You will need medical evidence to show your lack of mental capacity at the time the divorce judgment was entered. The time limit for filing the set aside motion on this basis is two years.
If you committed a reasonable mistake of law or fact, you could succeed in setting aside your divorce judgment. The time limit for filing this motion is one year under the Family Code, while you will get only six months for filing it under the Code of Civil Procedure.
Your ex-spouse may have failed to disclose information or submit documents that were necessary to comply with family law disclosure rules. In this case, you can file a set aside motion. The time limit for this filing is one year from the date when you found (or should have found) about this non-compliance.
Your divorce lawyer in Orange County should explain to you that the court will not set aside your divorce judgment merely because the court finds that the judgment was inequitable, or because there has been a subsequent change of circumstances which renders your property division inequitable or the alimony award has become insufficient.
The family law court in California may grant a set aside of your divorce judgment on the following grounds under the Code of Civil Procedure:
If you made a mistake of fact because you reasonably misunderstood it, you can use it as a ground to set aside the divorce judgment. Similarly, if you made a mistake in understanding the legal consequences of a fact, it may become grounds for filing a set aside motion.
If the judgment caused you unexpected harm, and the harm did not occur due to your negligence, you could have the grounds of inadvertence or surprise to seek a set aside of the divorce judgment.
An act of neglect such as not meeting a court deadline because of disability, illness, or language barrier, could be reasonable grounds to set aside your divorce judgment.
A motion to set aside your divorce judgment under the California Code of Civil Procedure must be filed within six months from the date of judgment. If the court determines that your motion to set aside does not have valid legal grounds, you may be ordered to pay the legal costs of the other party in this situation.
You may be dissatisfied with your divorce judgment for valid reasons, but your reasons must stand the test of legal scrutiny. Therefore, speak to a committed Orange County divorce attorney who can evaluate whether you have legal grounds to file a motion for a set aside, or what other legal options may be possible. Go by your lawyer’s advice to obtain the best possible final outcome for your divorce case.
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