Denver Real Estate Law and Family Law Blog. (Vol 1.62 ) August 24, 2015
By Craig Franklin Chambers Esq. 7851 S. Elati Street #204, Littleton, CO 80120
The Littleton Lawyer.
As a marital, family law, and divorce attorney, practicing in Littleton, Golden, Highlands Ranch, Denver an fact of the surrounding areas including Arapahoe, Douglas, and Jefferson County, I am often asked: Can I sue my ex for slander if she or he lies in a divorce.
The purpose of Permanent Orders hearing in a divorce is to present your case in front of a judge. Based on factors in C.R.S. 14-10-113, C.R.S. 14-10-114, and C.R.S. 14-10-124, and equitable principles, the court will decide significant matters such as parenting time, spousal maintenance, division of property and other issues that affect the parties.
Every story has two sides. But sometimes, in the stress of a divorce proceeding, a party actually slanders the other side, exaggerates, sometimes even lies.
A quiet, peaceful parenting exchange can be represented to the judge as a shouting match; a simple drink after work can be mis-described as the actions of an alcoholic. Even worse, the judge can believe these misrepresentations and rule against you based on them.
The question arises --can I sue my ex for slander for lying about me in court?
The answer is No. Witnesses are subject to perjury charges by the District Attorney if the lie is material enough to affect the outcome of a case, but claims for slander and defamation for a witness for testifying in court are not allowed. Parties are immune from civil liability for their testimony to encourage people to participate in the legal process.
However, if the material misrepresentation regards a hidden asset, a party has five years to use proof of the misrepresentation to re-open the divorce. The entire property division and spousal maintenance issue can be re-opened if a party conceals or misrepresents an asset. Even a small asset, such as a old savings account with a minimal sum, can bring about a new permanent orders hearing.
But if the misrepresentation is a different version of an event as described above, your only hope is to do your best to present your case and hope the judge finds the other party's testimony not credible. You need to anticipate the other side might lie and present rebuttal testimony to help prove your case. If you lose at trial, you can appeal the judge's ruling, but there is no ability sue the other party in a civil action for slander or defamation for his testimony even if it is a lie