Q: How can I get help to reopen my NJ divorce where there was extreme amounts of fraud regarding our business?
My husband hid millions of dollars in our divorce and lied about the sale of the business, this caused my entire PSA to be thrown out. He then reported me as a 1099 employee of our business. He was making direct deposits from the business for family support but then reported me as a 1099 employee, claiming I owe $360k, this was over several years. The amount he reported was a made up number, I was told the burden of proof was on me. He told the court that he sold our business for $100k. After the divorce was final he was paid millions, I have 100% proof of this. He is now business partners with the man that purchased our company. I barely have enough to survive. How can I reopen my divorce? Can I do this alone? Please help, I don't know where else to turn. He has the best lawyers and I have no one. Thank you
A: Thank you for your question about reopening your New Jersey divorce. In order to answer your question, the attorney would have to read your divorce agreement. The court in New Jersey usually enforces settlements between parties, however, in your case you believe there was fraud. Fraud could be grounds to reopen the divorce and set aside the prior agreement. It is a very challenging legal question to prove to the court, so I suggest you schedule a consultation or a meeting with the New Jersey family law attorney so they can look into the specific fact to your case and let you know the likelihood of success. I do not recommend doing this on your own because it is very difficult, and you only have one chance for success feel free to reach out to the attorney if you want to discuss it further.
Reopening a divorce matter is difficult and can be expensive. You may be 100% correct but to reopen a case, you need to give a lawyer
a. the settlement agreement,
b. the underlying discovery material provided by your husband as part of the divorce matter,
c. your husband's case information statement from the divorce,
d. the investigation materials applicable to the valuation of the business at the time of the divorce,
e. any personal and business tax returns provided as part of the divorce and
f. then everything that you have currently to support the claim of fraud.
Once the lawyer had reviewed all of that material, then he can advise you on the credibility of your proofs.
Presuming you have a credible claim then the lawyer would file an application to set aside specific aspects of the divorce agreement based on a claim of fraud, supported by your certification and the details of what was claimed at the time of the divorce and the current proofs.
Presuming the judge agrees that there is a basis to set aside the agreement, the court will then set a timeline for discovery and set a date for a hearing on your proof of fraud.
That is an expensive process and no lawyer with the skillset to undertake that task will do so without a substantial retainer payment up front. Presume that a lawyer with the skills to handle that type of claim will want a retainer of at least 25,000 - if not more and there is no guarantee that his review of your materials will result in a filing of the application since the proofs have to show that your husband committed fraud at the time of the divorce, not simply that the business currently is worth more money.
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