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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    4

    Default How Long Can A Divorce Take

    State: California

    Is there a statutes of limitations for completing a Dissolution of Marriage?

    Petitioner filed for legal separation in Feb. 1996 listing separation date as December 1995. Marriage date: 1989.

    Respondent filed response: Request for Dissolution of Marriage in March 1996.

    Due to many factor and issues divorce was not completed right away. In June 2002 Respondent (still living apart & separated) filed a Bifurcation request. This request was granted.

    Petitioner filed a Motion to have divorce vacated on grounds that "statutes of Limitations" had occured, since original filing was done in 1996. Note: Between 1996 and 1998 Petitioner filed two bankruptcy filings. Therefore Respondent was told that divorce proceedings were an automatic stay and the clock stops ticking. In July 2002 Judge reversed original Bifurcation/Divorce status dated: June 2002.

    Respondent was planning to re-marry and the morning of schduled wedding day, was notified that Bifurcation/Divorce dated June 2002 had been vacated, reason: "statutes of limitations". So all I could do was a "Spitual" cermony as over 200 guest had arrived and a great deal of expense had been incurred.

    In late July Respondent filed a "Motion to Reconsider". In September 2002 Respondent received "Dissolution of Marriage" status only. Respondent checked with his attorney the validity of document and was told it was valid.

    In November 2002 Respondent and girlfriend went to Court house to marry and took Dissolution of Marriage document with them to again verify validity of document and was told by clerk's office document was vaild. Thus a marriage cermony took place at the County Clerks office.

    Then, ONE YEAR later in October 2003 Respondent was notifed that a "clerical error" had occured and the Dissolution of Marriage dated: September 2002 was vacated.

    Petitioner tried to have Respondent arrested for bigmy. Nothing happen, as police were told Respondent side of story and decided there was no reason to pursue any action.

    Out of frustration with the courts and with Petitioners tactics. Respondent decided to take control of situation and filed his own petition for divorce in October 2003 thus now becoming the "Petitioner". Bifurcation of marital status was finally granted in July 2004. However, not realizing why ex-spouse wanted divorce vacated in the first place, would soon become clear.

    Ex-spouse would now state a "new" separation date of May 2002, however Petitioner maintains original separation date of December 1995. Petitioner been with current girlfriend/wife since Nov.1998. Ex-spouse reasons to delay and/or vacate original divorce date is now clear: (1) to claim community property interest in real estate that Petitioner purchased in Oct. 1999 as joint tenants with then girlfriend, now wife. This was a post-separation purchase. (2) now requesting spousal surport, as spousal surport was waived forever by both Petitioner and Respondent in original divorce case.

    Ex-spouse claims she gave ex-husband $10,000.00 towards the down payment on property. To date no proof provided. As there is no truth to her claim.This case has been going on for a total of almost 10 years. Proof of funds used to purchase property have been given to attorney's. Ex-spouse has not cooperated with the discovery process. Ex-spouse filed a Lis pendens against property and never notifed me. It was during a recent real estate transaction, that I was told by title company that a Lis pendens had been recorded. I believe I will prevail. This case will go to trial shortly.

    After all this...I want to know if I have any recourse? Mistakes were done by the court system and by my previous attorney. If there is "No statutes of limitations" can I request "Nunc pro tunc" my original divorce date of "June 2002"? Thus all stipulations and/or motions from original divorce proceedings would remain in effect. After all it was the courts errors that made me a so-called "bigmist", along with the vengence and malice of an ex-wife.

    I have incurred several thousands of dollars in legal expense responding to ex-spouse frivolous claims and filing of frivolous motions, as ex-spouse is acting as "Pro Per".

    Any advice would greatly be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    28,906

    Default Problematic Divorce History

    What does your current divorce attorney have to say about the prior proceedings? You may wish to explore the possibility of a legal malpractice claim, although you may run into problems with the statute of limitations.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    4

    Default Statutes of Limitations

    Cuurent attorney states: He has never seen a case like this. He has 25+ years experience. My understanding the clock starts ticking when we are made aware...this would be October 2003.

    At one point one attorney stated that: Original divorce was an automatic stay because Petitioner had filed two bankruptcy filings during the course of divorce filings. Then another attorney on behalf of ex-spouse said it doesn't apply to divorce cases. At that point I didn't know who to believe. I just proceeded forward.

    My current attorney feels confident in my case. He states: How much is it worth trying to pursue legal action? I really don't want legal action against the courts or attorney's, I just want to know...when I go to trial next month can I make a request to have original divorce case rulings/stipulations and/or orders remain in effect?

    Apparently the courts are aware of the mis-handling of the original case because I went to the court house to see entire case file and there was a note in file that an investagation was in process to find out how it was that a "Dissolution of Marriage (Sept. 2002)was issued in the first place and why it took ONE Year to notify me.

    so..as it stands today, your saying: There is no statutes of limitations on divorce cases, correct? If so, I guess I'll bring it to my current attorney's attention and see what he advises.

    Any other information you can give me would greatly be appreciated.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    28,906

    Default Statute of Limitations in Divorce

    The statute of limitations is normally something you speak of before a case is filed, not afterward. I'm simply not clear on what happened and why - if your attorney can explain it, I would love to hear the explanation, but I'm in no position to even guess what happened let alone second-guess your lawyer.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    4

    Default Reply - Statutes of Limitations

    The following is direct from courts filing document: dated: 7/2/2002

    On the Courts own motion:

    It is hereby ordered:

    The above captioned matter was heard on June 21, 2002. The court granted the request fo a Bifurcation, and made an order for a Status Only Dissolution of Marriage. This Judgment of Dissolution, Status Only is hereby vacated. Although a proper proof of service had been submitted, the responding party had objected to the hearing of the matter by a pro tem. In addition, the case has surpassed the five-year statute. On the Court's own motion, the entire case is dismissed forthwith. Therefore, in the interest of justice, it is hereby ordered that the case be dismissed and that the parties remain married.

    The above order was signed off by a Judge that wasn't involved with the hearing in the first place. Our previous attorney wondered how this case was heard by this Judge without direct communication to the Judge. To this day I don't know how this happen?

    It is also noted on document that Petitioner and Respondent were not present and Counsel for either side was not present.

    Also for the record: I was the "Responding party" and never objected to a pro tem.

    Its been down hill since with numerous errors. Shortly after filing my petition as Petitioner I released my previous attorney and now have a new one however he's only picked-up where the old one left off. He's not really in tune with all the details of mistakes both by the courts and previous attorney.

    I just want to make sure before going foreward that there is No "Statutes of Limitations with regard to divorce cases, regardless of Bankruptcy etc.....

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Behind a Desk
    Posts
    98,846

    Default Violation of Five Year Statute

    It would help if the court had identified the statute it referenced.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    4

    Default Statutes of Limitations

    Thanks for the information. Next month should tell all.

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