A Divorce Usually Takes Longer Than Six Months
Usually, when one party files for divorce through a family law attorney and the issues between the parties are fully litigated in family court, a civil court cannot make a ruling on the same cause of action between the same parties. In California a civil action that ends in judgment is res judicata or “matter judged.” Although the theory seems straightforward–the same parties cannot litigate the same issues that have already been decided by a judge–there are some factors a judge must consider before dismissing the second case.
When a court is faced with the decision to dismiss a cause of action based upon res judicata, the focus is on the damage rather than the legal theory asserted. Res judicata is based upon a primary right theory in Orange County, California: the plaintiff has a right, the defendant owes the plaintiff a duty, and the defendant does not fulfill the obligation to the plaintiff. If the rights are different in the two causes of action, then the parties can have their matter heard in one court and still file a lawsuit in another court. For instance, when a judge determines that a wife has suffered from domestic violence in a family law case, another court can still hear a civil case about the same incident and award damages based upon the harm suffered.