A court may set aside a judgment that is obtained as a result of fraud if: 1.) after the discovery of fraud, the movant files a motion to open promptly; 2.) the movant acts diligently in attempting to discover and to expose fraud; 3.) clear proof exists of fraud; and 4.) a substantial likelihood exists that the results of a new trial will be different. The parties were divorced in June 2008, after the defendant wife was defaulted for failure to appear. In July 2013, the wife moved to open the judgment and alleged that she was unaware that the parties were divorced until November 2012, when the parties argued about the husband's alleged affairs, and the husband showed the wife the divorce papers. The wife maintained that the husband obtained the 2008 divorce judgment as a result of fraud. The husband allegedly admitted that he was the only individual who was home when the marshal served the divorce papers on the wife, and claimed that he took the papers from the marshal and slid them under the door. Courts may set aside judgments that are obtained as a result of fraud. The court credited the wife's testimony that she was unaware of the divorce until November 2012. "Her claim to have been unaware of the dissolution proceedings," wrote the court, "is strongly supported by the fact that the parties continued to reside together for over four years after the date of the judgment." The wife was not required to ask the husband whether he had dissolved the marriage while she continued to live with the husband, as man and wife. Because the wife apparently was unaware of the earlier divorce, she did not possess the opportunity to request that the dissolution court award alimony. Substantial justice requires the wife to possess the opportunity to request alimony, and the court granted the wife's motion to open and to vacate the judgment of dissolution.

VIEW FULL CASE