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Fraud Defined



Making a material misrepresentation or failing to disclose a material fact in order to induce another to give up something of value.

Most fraud claims in divorce relate to fraud in the inducement to marry, separation agreements, and the introduction of evidence at trial. In order to over-turn an earlier judgment on the basis of fraud, the fraud must be material. Meaning it must be a matter of law. The victim of the fraud must prove that she/he suffered substantial harm as a result and she/he could not have detected the fraud at the time it occurred by using reasonable care.

It is important to know that there is a statute of limitations on fraud. If you feel that you have been defrauded in some way in regard to a particular aspect of your divorce you need to act immediately. Do not allow the statute of limitations to run and leave you in a position of not being able to do anything.

In some states the statute starts to run on the day the fraud occurred. In some it starts to run on the day an individual suffered a legal injury due to fraud.

For example, if your attorney lies to you about an important aspect of your divorce and that lie causes you to suffer a financial injury the statute will either run on the day the lie occurred or it will start to run on the day you suffer your injury. The definition of what an "injury" is or when the "injury" takes place also varies from state to state.

If you suspect fraud has occurred do your legal research and don't allow too much time to pass before filing a complaint or petition to modify your final divorce agreement.

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