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LawTalk, Attorney and Counselor at Law
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 37855
Experience:  30 years legal experience. I remain current in Family Law through regular continuing education.
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Is it possible to rescind a marital settlement/stipulated judgment

Customer Question

Is it possible to rescind a marital settlement/stipulated judgment before it goes to stamped decree at the Family Court in California?
I signedon 1/8/13 and asked my attorney to pull it a week later; he did not; it went to decree on1/31/13.
What FC section governs this procedure? Thanks you
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  LawTalk replied 2 years ago.
Good afternoon,

I'm Doug, and I'm very sorry to hear of your situation. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today. In order to give you a clear and concise answer, I will need some additional information about the circumstances, please.

1. You do realize that your question is purely hypothetical at this point, given that the decree was issued more than a year ago (1-31-13)? What is it you want to accomplish?

2. What state was the divorce in?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

The divorce was in California.

I. I want to know if the stipulated agreement could have legally been pull before it went to decree, and which FC OR CCCP section controls this.

2. This was a high-asset divorce involving much complexity, children, businesses, a 20-year marriage, and an abusive ex-husband. I am exploring my options to see what can be accomplished.

Thank you so much.

Expert:  LawTalk replied 2 years ago.

Hi Helaine,

I empathize with your situation, and had this just happened yesterday, as opposed to months ago, or a year ago, you might have some chance to do something about it. But the decree created the MSA into a binding contract and it is not capable of being revoked or set aside without the agreement of all parties concerned.

There is no family law code section or CCP section that speaks to the revocation of a contract/stipulation once signed by the parties.

As a rule, you may revoke a signed Marital Settlement Agreement after you have signed it but before you have submitted it back to the other party or to the court. After you have sent it to the court or the other party, it is deemed a signed contract and the chances of revoking it are virtually zero.

Had you attempted to revoke it the other side would have simply made a motion to enforce the agreement/stipulation---and they would have almost certainly prevailed.

As I suggested, all of this is really only hypothetical at this point as the decree was entered and the agreement is entirely binding on each of you as an enforceable contract, and the court does not have the authority to set the agreement aside.

Unfortunately, there is nothing that you can do at this point in terms of a court action to have the agreement set aside.

I understand that you may be disappointed by the Answer you received, as it was not particularly favorable to your situation. Had I been able to provide an Answer which might have given you a successful legal outcome, it would have been my pleasure to do so.

If you have additional questions, you may of course reply back to me and I will be happy to continue to assist you further until your questions have been answered to your satisfaction.

Kindly take a moment to rate my service to you based on the understanding of the law I provided. Please understand that I have no control over the how the law impacts your particular situation.

Thank you,