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Fraud in the inducement of marriage… what about divorce?

Most states have moved to a no-fault divorce system. This means that a spouse is not required to prove fault in the marriage such as adultery or fraud. It certainly does not mean that these are no longer sufficient grounds for divorce. What if the divorce itself is fraudulent?

A man recently filed a lawsuit in Louisiana against his ex-wife based on a fraudulent divorce. In this case, the divorce was filed in another jurisdiction. It was also filed and a judgement was entered without his knowledge.

In this case, the couple had gotten married in Columbia in 1972. During that time, the husband began a long-time career as a professor at the University of New Orleans, starting in 1985. The couple eventually separated, but the husband remained living in Louisiana and working at the university. The wife traveled on numerous occasions to visit him and her children.

In 2001, the wife filed for divorce in Columbia. She claimed that she did not know where her husband was currently living and could not get a hold of him in any way. With this claim, the court allowed service through publication in 2006. When he failed to reply to the publication, the court granted a judgement.

In 2012, the husband was served with the divorce judgement that provided for the division of the marital property. He claims that the wife filed the divorce. Above that, he stated in his complaint that she in fact knew exactly how to locate him and that her allegation was made in bad faith.

Source: The Louisiana Record, “Man sues ex-wife for allegedly fraudulent divorce,” Kyle Barnett, Oct. 21, 2014

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