When Can a Divorce Decree be Set Aside in GA?

A Forsyth County family law attorney can help if you think you might need to set aside your Georgia divorce decree. It’s important, however, that we start the process before the statute of limitations (legal time limit) runs out.

What Does It Mean to “Set Aside” a Decree?

The term “set aside” refers to canceling a court decision or court order. An attorney may file a Motion to Vacate or a Motion to Set Aside in order to start this process for you. When a divorce decree is set aside, it’s as if the first decree gets ripped in half and tossed in the garbage, and you no longer have to comply with the terms of the court order.

The Main Reason to Set Aside a Divorce Decree

Setting aside a divorce decree is generally done for one main reason: because hidden assets have been discovered. In other words, one spouse discovers after the divorce is finalized that the other spouse had secret retirement accounts, some extra property, an investment account that was never disclosed, etc. This means that the spouse deceitfully deprived the other of their fair share of the equitable distribution of property, and the order should be reassessed.

If you can get your divorce decree set aside, it gives you the opportunity to have a judge look at the new evidence you’ve discovered. A new decision by the court can affect your spousal maintenance (or alimony) award, your child support award, and property division. All these things take into account the full financial status and resources of your former spouse.

Legal Requirements for Setting Aside a Divorce

It’s a serious thing for a court to throw out a previous decision. Georgia does not take setting aside divorce decrees lightly. For the Georgia court to set aside a divorce decree, one of these conditions must exist:

  • Fraud
  • Mistake
  • Negligence

The Statute of Limitations

The State of Georgia gives either of the spouses in a divorce up to three years to start the process of having their divorce judgment set aside. The process does not need to be completed within three years of the date the decree was finalized, but the process must be started within that time frame. So, for example, if you were divorced on January 1, 2020. You have until January 1, 2023, to have your Forsyth County family law attorney start the process for you, even if you don’t discover that assets were hidden or fraud was committed until December 31, 2022.

Our Forsyth County Family Law Attorneys Can Help

Did you discover that you were defrauded by your spouse after your divorce was finalized? At Banks, Stubbs, & McFarland, a Forsyth County family law firm, we can help. We handle all types of divorce-related matters, and we work to get you the best outcome possible the first time around without having to reopen the case down the line. To set up a free consultation today, contact us via our contact form or call 770.887.1209.