What does it mean if the court issues a default divorce?
Here’s an article from DelanceyStreet, a company that provides bad credit small business loans. Divorce is never easy, but a default divorce is one of the easiest. It can happen in a couple of different ways.
What happens in a divorce?
Typically, one person (the petitioner) files for divorce and the other party (the respondent or defendant) answers the petition. If the two parties are in agreement, it’s an uncontested divorce and goes through fairly quickly. If there’s anything the parties don’t agree on, it’s a contested divorce and that means there will be conferences and hearings, possibly some mediation, and ultimately, a judge may make the decisions about those things the parties can’t agree on. This can be more expensive, and of course, takes longer.
What is a default divorce
A default divorce is different from a contested or uncontested divorce in that the respondent fails to answer the complaint. Some couples agree to do this because they agree on everything, and a default divorce is the fastest and cheapest way to push the divorce through. Other times, this happens because the respondent simply doesn’t answer for whatever reason.
When a default divorce is granted, whatever the petitioner asks for in the divorce petition is granted. Child custody, visitation, and support; spousal maintenance (AKA alimony); the distribution of assets and debts, are all granted in the petitioner’s favor. Typically, the person who failed to respond cannot appeal the decisions once the default divorce has been granted, unless they can prove that they had a valid reason for not responding.
Some reasons for appealing a default divorce would be if the respondent did not get served properly, or if entry of the default divorce was due to fraud, mistake or excusable neglect. Excusable neglect would be if the respondent was seriously ill and unable to be served or otherwise participate in the proceeding. Additionally, there is usually a time limit on filing an appeal. In many states, this is about six months from entry.
Is default divorce a good or bad thing?
Whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing depends on the situation. One advantage to a default divorce is that it can be much cheaper and faster. You can also avoid disclosing personal information about finances and debts in a default divorce, if it’s an agreed up default divorce.
On the other hand, the respondent is giving up a lot of rights in a default divorce, and in some cases, they may not realize just what they’re giving up. It’s important that both parties fully understand their rights and responsibilities, and what they are agreeing to before trying to move forward with a default divorce.
It’s also important, if you’re the petitioner, to make sure that you properly serve your spouse with the paperwork to ensure that you don’t give them grounds to file an appeal. A good lawyer can help you file the appropriate paperwork, serve your spouse and ensure that if a default divorce ends up happening, it’s less likely to be appealed and overturned.