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What is the penalty for lying about serving court documents?

El Sobrante, CA |

I would like to know what the penalty is for commiting fraud by supposedly serving someone with court documents when that person is actually out of the country and can prove that they were out of the country when the court documents were supposedly served. And as the person who was supposedly served, what steps do i need to take to make sure that the people involved are prosecuted. I have never been in court and Im very unfamiliar with court processes, I am representing myself and need to know what exactly i need to do before my next court date, which is next week. Please help!

I was away for 2 months, the other party knew I was gone and filed so i would not have sufficient time to respond, and the consequences of his actions could cost me my kids, he filed for custody claiming he didnt know i was gone even though he took me to the airport and kept in contact with me the entire time i was gone. I went to family court and had an court date set the very next day. I proved to the judge i was not in the country with my passport. He then vacated his original court order custody to the father because he obtained them by fraud, he awarded me full custody temporarily. I need to know what steps to take, to make sure these people are prosecuted for what they did. I am representing myself, I have typed up a response to the original letter he wrote to the judge, I understand that i need to go file this letter with the clerk and the appropriate forms. I need to know what else i need to prepare for my mediation and court date which is next week.

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Attorney answers 2

Best Answer

If someone lies in connection with a legal proceeding (under the penalty of perjury), then they can be liable for perjury. The difficulty, as you probably have learned, is that prosecuting people for perjury is uncommon. It would have to be a big ticket item for the District Attorney to go after them - - not impossible but highly unlikely.

You will need to bring this up to the Court, though, so the Judge is aware of what is going on. Have you proof available. Then, focus on the case itself and don't get side tracked with the perjury issue.

I hope this helps and wish you the best with this troubling situation.

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This answer is offered for informational purposes only. It is not offered as, and does not constitute, legal advice. The laws are somewhat different in every state. You should rely only on advice given to you during a personal consultation by a qualified and licensed attorney in your area who is thoroughly familiar with state laws and the area of practice that your issue relates.


The penalty is perjury, but the chances that the party is actually prosecuted is pretty slim. The more important question is what damages or consequences you sustained as a result of the perjury. For example, was there a default and default judgment entered against you whikle you were out of the country? If so, you would be able to set aside the default and vacate the default judgment.

Your question also does not indicate how long you were out of the country, Are you saying that a motion was filed when you were out of the country so that you had insufficient time to file a timely opposition? If so, you should still file a written opposition, and include in your declaration that you were out of the country for whatever period of time.

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