Asked in Divorce and Family Law for New York

Q: Please, what is the statute of Limitations for filing an action to set aside a divorce agreement in NY? Can you cite it?

Related Topics:
2 Lawyer Answers
Peter Christopher Lomtevas
Peter Christopher Lomtevas pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Schenectady, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: Contracts procured by fraud have a six year statute of limitations, CPLR213(8), but divorce agreements are not any ordinary contract. Divorce agreements are "allocuted" which means the judge asks questions about whether both parties entered into the agreement freely, knowingly and voluntarily. There are questions about satisfaction with lawyers. Challenging a divorce agreement is not simply a matter of filing something within a period of time.

This does not mean divorce agreements are eternal. If the asker can demonstrate fraud, duress or undue influence, or unconscionability, there may be success in vacating a divorce agreement (called a 'stipulation of settlement').

Fraud requires proof that the former spouse knowingly concealed or gave false information about an essential fact, that a party justifiably relied on that misrepresentation and suffered damages as a result. Duress and undue influence are grounds for setting aside the agreement only if the former spouse threatened or coerced the asker to sign and the asker would not have signed the agreement absent such coercion.

The damaged party can file to vacate such an agreement at any time, but given the protections afforded the agreement in a divorce action, the likelihood of success will be nil.

Marco Caviglia
Marco Caviglia
  • Lagrangeville, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: Six years, but you are not merely seeking to void a "divorce agreement." You are attempting to undo a very detailed proceeding by the Supreme Court to ensure that everything was done properly and consensually. Even if timely, you may be blocked anyway if you benefitted from the divorce for an extended period of time, or any of the other defenses to an action to vacate the judgement. Consult the attorney who represented you in the divorce and see what s/he thinks.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.