Dear Famularo & Assocaites:
My millionaire husband used fraud, perjury and intimidation to keep all of our community property and to dispose of me during our divorce in 1992. After a ten year marriage, I only got $35,000. My husband also got custody of our young children, our co-owned two million dollar Malibu mansion, all of the cars and kept his millions. He tried to kill me twice. When his brother tried to help me legally, he threatened to have his brother's wife and children killed. My first, second, and third attorney all quit suddenly.
I was a victim of domestic violence during our marriage. I suffered three concussions and damage to my spine. My husband began bringing various young women home with him, ignoring my presence. My husband would often come home late, very drunk and would grab me by the hair, throw me down to the floor and start kicking me in the spine. I sought help shortly after our divorce and was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder.
I cannot understand how the divorce court failed me. Now, I want to expose him for what he is and claim all the money I should have received during the original divorce. I heard that I can file for a modification of the original divorce judgment. Is this true?
Unfortunately, you have waited too long to be able to change the terms of your original divorce judgment. Your divorce was final nearly sixteen years ago, and no divorce court will reopen the terms of your divorce settlement after all those years. It is true that everything your husband earned all those years ago would have been community property and you would have been entitled to it. Also, since your marriage was more than ten years, it was a "lengthy" one, making it likely that you would have also received some sort of spousal support.
Normally a divorce judgment cannot be set aside if it is more than six months old, and in extreme cases it can be set aside for up to two years. Your divorce has been final for sixteen years now. California has a strong public policy that once a judgment is entered, it should be final. Courts discourage parties from trying to go back and relitigate a judgment years later.
Too much time has gone by. It is time to put the past behind you. Be glad that you are no longer married to that man, and concentrate on starting over.