A Question for the Rhode Island Divorce Lawyer about a Concealed Divorce Judgment
October 21, 2009
My ex-husband kept the information from me that we have actually been divorced since 2008 from me. During all that time till now he had me thinking we are still married so I have been working on our marriage. I want to know if i can sue him because of this.
In order to obtain a Final Judgment of divorce in Rhode Island, your ex-husband had to serve with the divorce papers in a way that was sufficient to give you notice of the divorce proceeding that meets due process standards. If you knew about the divorce filing, it was up to you to make sure you kept up to date on what might be happening in the divorce case in the Rhode Island Family Court.
Unfortunately there is not legal theory that allows you to sue your ex-husband under these circumstances. If your husband wanted the divorce then you might have prolonged the proceeding but you would not have stopped it, so essentially you would have no damages to sue to recover.
If you weren't aware of the divorce itself and you have good reason why you would want to be married to this man as of today, you might want to find out how you were considered lawfully served by the Rhode Island Family Court and obtain an experienced divorce lawyer's opinion as to whether it was lawfully correct service of process. It is possible, though rare, that you could successfully challenge the Rhode Island Divorce Judgment itself based upon lack of due process.
Christopher A. Pearsall, Attorney-at-Law
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