Thorough and truthful financial disclosures are crucial in San Diego divorce actions to enable the Courts with making an equitable division of assets and determining whether to grant spousal support or child support. A lack of adequate disclosure can lead to significant harm, and those who are adversely affected by the other party’s failure to provide accurate financial information can seek relief via the Courts. This was demonstrated in a recent ruling in which a California Court granted a request to adjudicate an asset 20 years after the entry of a default judgment in a divorce action. While there are very strict timelines under Family Law Code Section 2122 to set aside a judgment, this case dealt with an omitted asset and the Court did not find a statute of limitations defense in this case. If you intend to end your marriage, it is smart to speak to a San Diego divorce lawyer regarding what steps you can take to protect your rights.
History of the Case
It is reported that in April 1999, the husband filed for divorce from the wife. She did not respond, and the Trial Court entered a default judgment. Later, the wife discovered that the husband had an undisclosed pension. In April 2013, she requested an order to address the asset, but due to misunderstandings and communication barriers, the issue remained unresolved until she hired an attorney in 2015. In April 2021, the wife filed a new request to determine her interest in the pension. The husband opposed the request, arguing it was barred as the wife had not set aside the default judgment. The Trial Court determined that the pension was an omitted asset and scheduled a trial to divide it. The husband appealed.
Laches in California Divorce Actions
On appeal, the husband argued, in part, that the doctrine of laches precluded the wife from claiming an interest in his pension. Specifically, he argued the Trial Court erred by allowing the wife’s request under section 2556 of the California Family Code, which deals with community property and continuing jurisdiction, to proceed despite the defense of laches. Continue reading