Going through a divorce cases can be particularly stressful. That stress though can go a notch or two above if your ex spouse is a vexatious litigant. Who is a vexations litigant? They are people to continue to make motions upon motions upon motions, despite you winning each one they refuse to stop. Such people are vexations litigants who not only you mental stress but also financial strain and undue delay in the primary proceedings of your divorce case.
Can you do something about it? Yes, you can. The vexatious litigant statutes of California give you the right to stop their claims unless they are pre-approved by the judge of the case.
How can you prove that a person is a vexatious litigant?
Any person who repeatedly files motions, applications and petitions can be found out to be a vexatious litigant. How you prove that in court though is defined in the Code of Civil Procedure of California. It states under section 391 a few requirements to prove that a person is a vexatious litigant.
- If the person has within a seven year period started 5 or more motions, petitions or applications that have either been decided against them or have been delayed unjustly.
- After the litigation has been decided, the person looks to challenge at first the decision repeatedly or challenges the facts, issues and controversy that have played a hand in the case being decided.
- Interrupts already existing litigations by filing newer motions, pleadings, etc. or makes use of other tactic just to delay the proceedings and incur costs on the other party.
- Has been previously declared a vexatious litigant in any other state or by the federal court.
How do the courts curb the activity of such litigants?
There are two ways that the courts will try and stop the activities of the vexations litigant. While originally the courts deter the spouses from filing false claims against one another by making the losing party pay the costs of the winning party. In addition those, to make sure vexatious litigants are unable to detract the Orange County divorce proceedings. They use two distinct ways.
- Making sure that if the vexatious litigant wants to file a new motion, petition or application they will need to take a prior permission to file it from the judge presiding the case.
- In addition to that, they will be asked to post a bond with their claim. Making sure that they put their money where their mouth is, literally.
Is filing such a motion worth it?
Yes, filing such a motion could be worth it because the financial strain and emotional and mental stress from having to deal with new litigation one after the other can start to take its toll. Yet before starting such a claim you need to make sure that your facts back you up. In the alternative, you can seek sanctions against the other party pursuant to Family Code section 271.
Gerald A. Maggio is an experienced Orange County divorce and family law lawyer and family law attorney located in Irvine, California, serving the Orange County and Riverside areas. Mr. Maggio assists clients with legal issues including divorce, legal separation, divorce mediation, child custody, prenuptial agreements, stepparent adoptions, and other family law issues. Mr. Maggio has practiced law in California since 1999, and founded The Maggio Law Firm in 2005, focusing exclusively on divorce and family law matters.