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Dealing with a forgotten asset after the divorce settlement

On Behalf of | Apr 24, 2024 | Divorce

A divorce settlement is usually understood as a final resolution of the legal issues between the former California spouses. However, in some situations, one or both spouses might realize that an item was forgotten during the divorce negotiations and not included in the settlement. Addressing the issue after the divorce is settled is difficult, though not impossible if certain requirements are met.

What is included in a divorce settlement?

A divorce settlement includes many areas, and negotiations should ideally address all of them. They include:

  • Child custody issues
  • Division of assets
  • Financial support in the form of alimony or child support

The difficulty in reopening a divorce settlement

After the divorce is finalized, the court assumes that all issues have been properly addressed and dealt with. If one or both spouses then remember a forgotten asset, such as an old bank account or credit card debt, they can jointly ask that the settlement be reopened so they can amend the terms of it. Even if only one former spouse claims the asset was forgotten, they can still petition to reopen the case. For this to happen, the court needs to believe that new evidence has surfaced warranting the opening of the case, such as evidence of fraud or that an error was made. Additionally, the petition must be made within a year of the original date of the settlement. If the court agrees to reopen the case, the former spouse who has made the claim will need to provide proof. The court might also request a new court case, which might mean having to revisit the issues of the divorce.

Reopening a divorce settlement can be time-consuming and emotionally painful. For this reason, it is important to be as exhaustive as possible when first investigating and listing all assets during the divorce negotiations.