May 7, 2013 By Paul Wallin

During your marriage and your divorce, you and your spouse have a fiduciary duty to each other. You each have a duty of good faith and fair dealing with one another. This means that both you and your spouse are required to be honest and fair when dealing with each other.

If your divorce has already been finalized and you believe your spouse did not comply with this duty, it is crucial that you speak with one of the experienced divorce attorneys at Wallin & Klarich to help you protect your rights and set aside your divorce judgment.

California Family Law Attorney
A divorce attorney can help you get what is yours when going through a divorce.

Fiduciary Duty

Under California Family Code Section 721(b), a husband and wife have a confidential relationship that places each spouse with a duty of the highest good faith and fair dealing with one another and forbids a spouse from taking any unfair advantage of the other. This relationship exists during the marriage and continues until the community property has been distributed in the divorce.

Disclosure Requirements

Under California Family Code Section 2100, each party is required to accurately and completely disclose all assets and liabilities in which their spouse has or may have an interest or obligation.

Also, under California Family Code Section 2122, after a divorce judgment has been entered, one spouse can seek a motion to set aside a judgment based on the failure of the other spouse to comply with the above stated disclosure requirement. It is important to note that the court must make a finding under California Family Code Section 2121(b) that the “facts alleged as the grounds for relief materially affected the original outcome and that the moving party would materially benefit from the granting of the relief,” in order to set aside a judgment for failing to disclose all assets or liabilities.

Real Life Example of a Judgment Set-Aside Based on Concealment

In one of our recent family law cases, our client wanted to set aside her divorce judgment, specifically her property division orders. The client and husband were married for over 20 years and they both represented themselves in their divorce case.

Our client was an immigrant, did not speak or understand English, and was afraid of her husband. Our client never thought of hiring an attorney to seek legal advice because she was afraid that her husband would be mad and physically harm her. Because of her fear, our client followed her husband’s directions and agreed to the settlement terms that her husband had drafted.

10 years later, our client came to Wallin & Klarich seeking help after learning that her husband had a pension through his work that he did not disclose during the divorce process. Our attorneys discovered that her husband did not fulfill his fiduciary duty when he failed to disclose his pension. He had purposefully and intentionally concealed the fact that his pension existed.

Upon filing a motion to set aside the judgment with the court and appearing in court, our attorneys were able to prove that our client’s husband failed to comply with the disclosure requirements. Furthermore, we were also able prove that our client had been materially affected by the original property division orders and that she would materially benefit from the court setting aside the judgment. The property orders were set aside and now our client is able to rightfully claim her community interest in her ex-husband’s pension.

How We Can Help You

The lesson to be learned from the above example is that you need to make sure your rights are protected. Even if you are already divorced but you believe your judgment should be set aside, you must speak with one of the skilled and reliable divorce attorneys at Wallin & Klarich immediately. Setting aside a judgment is a complex process and it is important that you are advised properly to determine whether you can set aside your judgment. At Wallin & Klarich, we have been successfully protecting our client’s legal rights for over 30 years.

Call us today at (888) 749-7428. Wallin & Klarich has offices in in Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, Victorville, West Covina, Torrance, and Sherman Oaks and can help you now. We will be there when you call.

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