In California, it is not uncommon for someone to be unhappy with the finalized divorce arrangement that they end up with after the dust has settled. We’re often asked about whether a settlement can be disputed or reopened, which inspired us to focus on this topic for this blog post.
The simple answer is that yes, there are some instances where it is possible for the courts to revisit a settlement. However, this only applies during specific and rare circumstances.
There Must Be Exceptional or Unusual Circumstances for a Settlement to be Reopened
In California, a divorce settlement is only able to be re-assessed or reopened if there are exceptional or compelling circumstances at hand, which often center on fraud or misrepresentation in court. In other words, if you can prove that your ex-spouse lied or engaged in fraud during the divorce process, you have grounds to dispute your divorce settlement.
Another circumstance which would allow for a reassessment of your divorce settlement is if you were under duress when your proceedings concluded. What this means is that those who were threatened with violence or coerced into accepting the terms of the settlement can seek to have the proceedings re-opened.
There are limits as to when someone can file a request to have a divorce settlement disputed or reopened. If your complaints involve fraud, you must bring the issue up within one year after your divorce has closed. If they center on any duress you might have been under, you have two years after your divorce to make a complaint.
Talk to Our Skilled Divorce Attorneys
The best way to avoid these issues is to arm yourself with the assistance of qualified legal counsel, someone who can look out for your interests during the divorce process. If you want to have your divorce settlement re-examined, or to talk to a legal expert about any other matter involving family law in CA, be sure to reach out to us at 925-271-0999 to schedule a free appointment.