What to Do When a Spouse Doesn't Respond to Divorce Papers

signing documentsAs couples go through the divorce process, there are certain steps they must take in order to finalize the dissolution. In some cases, this may include going to trial or the couple may be able to make an agreement regarding the divorce. As they navigate the process, there is a point when the spouse filing for a divorce must serve papers to the other spouse. This is the start of the process and the spouse who has been served will have 30 days to file a response. What happens, though, when the spouse who receives the papers does not respond? What must be done by the filing spouse to make sure the remaining steps go smoothly?

If you have served your spouse with the divorce papers and they did not file a response —and you do not have an agreement — this is referred to as a true default. It doesn’t prevent the filing spouse from moving forward with the divorce. In fact, it means that the spouse who failed to respond to the divorce papers has given up their rights to have any sort of say in the proceedings. The filing spouse may continue with the divorce and state their case. The filing spouse will be able to request to enter default and file for a declaration of default that would allow them to move forward.

It is not very often that a default divorce occurs, but they do happen. When they do, it is important to understand your rights moving forward and know what happens. A non-response by the spouse who has been served may grant the filing spouse the ability to get a divorce based on fault. This doesn’t just impact the divorce process, but it can also change the way other things are handled such as child custody, child support, alimony, and property division. The judge may make a decision based on the information they receive from the spouse who filed for divorce.

Before you decide to go through the process, though, you may want to discuss a potential case with a qualified lawyer. There are specific forms that need to be filed in the event of a default divorce. One thing to note if you are the one who filed for divorce, the other spouse must have received the actual papers. This means if the papers were never served, then the default will not count against them.

Understanding the entire process can be the difference between reaching a resolution you desire and walking away with an unfavorable result. In a divorce, there is so much on the line and you must make sure that your rights are protected. This is why having a Rancho Cucamonga divorce attorney on your side is so crucial. Going through a divorce is a difficult time in anyone’s life, but it doesn’t have to be complicated and you shouldn’t have to navigate this experience alone.

At Chung & Ignacio, our team is backed by extensive experience in the areas of divorce and family law. We understand default divorces in California and the way these types of cases are handled in the courtroom, and what they mean for both the filing spouse and the respondent. If you are going through a divorce, we encourage you to call us today and let us explain how we can help you get through the entire process from start to finish.

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