Finishing A 50 Year Old California Divorce Case

Hi, Tim Blankenship with and what we’re talking about today is uh we were reached out by a client a potential client i should say that said they had one-upped us, they had watched a video where I had talked about handling old divorce cases.

In this particular video from several years ago i believe we said that the case was 17 years old when the parties realized their divorce was not finalized and in today the gal that reached out to us their case was filed in the 70s and she said it was over 49 years old so definitely a record but i haven’t talked about this in a couple of years so i thought i’d take this opportunity to discuss finalizing old cases which generally is possible.

But I want to talk about some of the potential issues one obviously in a case where it’s almost 50 years old it would be locating you know the other party having no contact both parties believing the divorce has been done all this time to realize it hasn’t finding the other party is going to be an issue obviously number two is in regards to being able to finalize usually the court will only allow you five years to finish your divorce and if you don’t they technically by law can dismiss the case but they generally do not dismiss the case just because they’re not they don’t have a system whereby they can you know they get flagged when the case gets five years old and they go to dismiss it.

What happens is when you go to finalize the divorce 20 30 or 50 years later once it kind of gets reactivated and they see you trying to work on that case again in the form of usually submitting the judgment that’s when they’ll say oh sorry cases you know five years old or older and they just unilaterally dismiss the case and you have to start from scratch there is a workaround for that there is a stipulation that can be drafted to indicate that the parties agree to basically continue and prosecute the case beyond the five-year limit.

There’s some language that we put together and we’ve done that successfully many times there’s a lot of bad information out there about old cases if it is active and open we usually can finish the case we’ve heard people say they’ve talked to other paralegal firms and they’ve been told all kinds of weird things like cancel the case dismiss it file a new case and there’s no reason to do that.

if the case is open if there’s issues with the documents they can be amended this one particular case they had filed a petition and a response so they paid both sides of the court fee and the they’re being told to have you know dismiss the case and file again and then they’d have to pay another set of court fees so just makes no sense generally these cases can be corrected Tim Blankenship hope you’re having a great day talk to you soon