If a party dies between the time the court orally grants a judgment of dissolution and the time the court enters a written judgment — does the court lose jurisdiction to enter judgment nunc pro tunc? No, writes the court in Marriage of Martin.
Code of Civil Procedure section 669, also applicable to actions for dissolution of marriage, provides: “If a party dies after trial and submission of the case to a judge sitting without a jury for decision or after a verdict upon any issue of fact, and before judgment, the court may nevertheless render judgment thereon.”
Additionally, Family Code section 2346, subdivision (a), provides that “[i]f the court determines that a judgment of dissolution of the marriage should be granted, but by mistake, negligence, or inadvertence, the judgment has not been signed, filed, and entered, the court may cause the judgment to be signed, dated, filed, and entered in the proceeding as of the date when the judgment could have been signed, dated, filed, and entered originally, if it appears to the satisfaction of the court that no appeal is to be taken in the proceeding or motion made for a new trial, to annul or set aside the judgment, or for relief . . ..”
Subdivision (c) further provides: “The court may cause the judgment to be entered nunc pro tunc as provided in this section, even though the judgment may have been previously entered, where through mistake, negligence, or inadvertence the judgment was not entered as soon as it could have been entered . . ..”
Thus, the trial court has jurisdiction to enter a judgment for dissolution of marriage nunc pro tunc, even after the death of one of the parties. These provisions demonstrate that the trial court had authority to enter the nunc pro tunc order and amended judgment as of the date it orally granted the judgment of dissolution of marriage and reserved jurisdiction over all other issues—a date prior to petitioner’s death.
Mr. Daymude consults with clients and accepts cases involving dissolution of marriage, including those cases where one of the parties dies before entry of judgment. For other types of cases accepted, please scroll the Home and My Practice pages. If you are seeking a legal consultation or representation, call Michael Daymude at 818-971-9409.