California’s Res Judicata

Usually, when one party sues another party 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. The legal system in California finds that the action 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 fulfil 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 not be prevented from filing a lawsuit in another court. For instance, when a judge determines that a wife has suffered from domestic violence and increases her spousal support based upon that theory, another court can still hear the action for an action in tort.

If you need a divorce attorney in the Aliso Viejo area that handles domestic violence matters, contact Trevino Law, Inc. at (949) 643-5662.  Located off the Lake Forest exit for both the 405 and 5 freeway.  Address:  23151 Moulton Parkway, Laguna Hills, California.

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