September 21, 2020

What Is a Default Judgment in a Divorce?

If you and your spouse are in the process of a divorce in California, you are probably aware that the court is the only one that can make a divorce final. The process of a divorce typically begins with one party filing a petition for divorce and the other party responding to the petition.

Filing the petition begins the divorce, but the two parties must take many other steps and reach agreements before the judge will issue a final divorce judgment that dissolves the marriage. Unfortunately, this process isn’t always smooth and straightforward.

If one of the parties doesn’t respond to the petition, you might be wondering: What is a default judgment in a divorce? Read on to learn more about default judgments and when they’re issued.

When Is a Default Judgment Issued?

A default judgment in a divorce case is a court order or judgment in which the court grants a divorce without hearing from one of the parties. When the respondent, or the person who didn’t file for the divorce, doesn’t respond after being served with a petition for divorce, the judge can finalize the divorce by default.

The plaintiff, or the person who filed for divorce, will have to complete forms pertaining to asset, debt and property division, child support, child custody, etc. The court will then make decisions based on information provided by only the plaintiff, rather than looking at information provided by both parties, as is normally the case.

Can a Default Judgment Be Cancelled?

Yes, a default judgment can be vacated, but only if the respondent can show great cause for not responding to the plaintiff’s petition for divorce. For example, if you can show evidence that you were out of the country, in the hospital, or that you weren’t served the divorce papers, then the default judgment can be removed.

If the divorce judgment is set aside, the divorce process starts over and the respondent will have a chance to be heard.

Contact a California Divorce Attorney

If you need help from a qualified divorce attorney in California, don’t delay. The sooner a lawyer starts working on your case, the more likely you are to get the most out of your divorce. Reach out to the Law Office of Laurence J. Brock by calling 909-466-7661, or by filling out the contact form conveniently located at the bottom of this page.

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