Setting Aside a Final Divorce Order Because of Fraud
In New Jersey, like in every other state, when people are in court, they must swear that their testimony is true and accurate. Divorce cases are not an exception to this. Couples must disclose all of their assets and debts during the divorce process, in addition to providing an accurate account of their income. Failure to accurately and completely disclose all of this information can be counted as fraud and may result in severe consequences for the person who committed the fraud.
New Jersey Rule 4:50-1 addresses under what circumstances an injured spouse can seek to have a final divorce order set aside. The rule states that an injured party may apply to the court to ask that he or she no longer has to follow the provisions of a final order for the following reasons: a) mistake, surprise, or excusable neglect; b) newly discovered evidence would probably change the final order and also could not have been discovered before the order was entered through exercising due diligence; c) fraud, misrepresentation, or misconduct of the other party; d) the judgment is void; e) the order has been satisfied; or f) any other reason that would justify relief from the order.
In order to get a final decree set aside under this provision for fraud, the requesting spouse needs to prove that the other spouse made some sort of material misrepresentation, or committed perjury during the divorce proceedings. Moreover, the requesting spouse needs to show that the perjury or fraud resulted in the final order being inequitable. In other words, just because your spouse lies about having an affair during the divorce does not mean that you are entitled to have the final order set aside, as this type of perjury would not have had any impact on the distribution of property. The spouse must also show that he or she was unaware of the fraud and also that a reasonable amount of investigation would not have resulted in discovering the fraud. In order to prove this type of fraud, the requesting spouse needs to obtain very specific proof, such as bank statements, pay stubs, or other hard evidence showing that the other spouse was untruthful about the assets or income.
If you believe that your former spouse lied during the divorce proceedings, you need an experienced attorney to help you. We have helped many clients seek out solutions for their divorces, both before and after the final decree is entered. Contact us today at (732) 529-6937 to talk about your divorce and your future.