Understanding Default Judgments In Divorce Cases

In order to get married, you and your spouse must both be in front of a licensed officiator and say "I do." However, you don't always both have to be present in order to dissolve that marriage. Once you have filed the petition for divorce, the papers are then served to the other party. Although the time frame differs by state, the other party will have a certain period of time to respond to the served divorce papers. However, the other party does not always respond to the petition. Sometimes they forget, and sometimes they simply refuse to do it. Whatever the case may be, there may be an option: default judgment.

When Can a Default Judgment Be Entered?

When a petition is sent by one spouse, the other spouse has a certain period of time to respond. When this spouse fails to do so, the court often assumes that the spouse has agreed to the terms of the divorce. This includes anything from property division to spousal support. As a result, this leads to a default judgment being entered. If you're the petitioning spouse, keep in mind that you will likely have to provide sufficient proof that your spouse was properly served the petition and that no response has been received. If this evidence can be provided and the court sees fit to enter a default judgment, the other party will be bound by the stipulations outlined in the divorce petition.

When Can a Default Judgment Be Set Aside?

In the event that a default judgment is entered, it may be possible for the non-petitioning spouse to ask the court to set aside the judgment. This can be successful if the proper explanation and proof is provided to the court for why you did not timely respond to the petition when it was served to you. The rules and time limits on this will vary from one state to the next, but the basis is pretty much the same. In California, the entered judgment can be removed if the judgment was entered by mistake, surprise, inadvertence or even excusable neglect of the individual. In addition, the law says that this must be done within no more than six months following the date that the judgment was entered into the system.

Whether you are divorcing a spouse or you are the spouse being divorce and are interested in seeking information about having a default set aside, contact a professional divorce lawyer in your state who is familiar with local and state laws of default judgments. For more information, contact a practice like Kolker Law Offices PC

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