You served your spouse with a petition for divorce. You spent money on a lawyer, dotted all of your i’s and crossed your t’s, and now he or she is refusing to play ball.
In fact, your ex- has gone completely incommunicado. They won’t heed the court’s documents or return any communications from you or your attorney.
So what happens now?
It’s time to move for a default judgment of divorce. This is a legal way of saying the other side refused to answer the documents that were served or take any action in the pending divorce case.
The first requirement, as covered above, is to file the petition for divorce and have it served on the opposing parties. This generally requires that someone, usually a sheriff’s deputy or process server, physically take the documents to the intended party.
This must be done properly or the court will not entertain the motion for a default judgment. Thus, the court will require whoever served the documents to swear to the service under oath.
However, it won’t always be that simple. If the process server cannot locate your spouse, then you or your representation must satisfy the requirements of legal notice. This requirement is usually satisfied by posting a notice (like a classified ad) in a local periodical for a set amount of time. The court will then consider the party served for the purposes of the case.
The served party then has 20 days to file an answer to the petition. The court will likely be lenient with this timeframe if the served party asks for an extension.
If the party fails to file an answer, the courts will not take any action. The burden will be on the original petitioner to file a Motion for Clerk’s Default, which will then set a final hearing on the matter. The case will not move forward without it.
The court will then examine your petition and the evidence proffered. So long as everything is in order, the court will enter the default order as the petition was requested.
Even divorces where the other party doesn’t participate can be difficult. The Men’s Divorce Law Firm understands all of the different legal paths and can guide you through the process. Call 321-DIVORCE to schedule a thorough consultation today.