The word “default” can bring up a number of ideas. Maybe when you hear the word you think that you failed to fulfill some type of obligation, or maybe you think more along the technology realm and think of default settings. I am sure this is quite a surprise, being a lawyer and all, but when I think of “default” I think of the law.
In some cases a default in your divorce case can be the right option, and in other cases a default could hurt. (You should consult with a family law attorney before making the decision to default.)
First, let’s discuss what is a default judgment. A default judgment takes place when a Respondent, after being served with the Summons and Petition, does not respond within the time period allocated by law (30 days) nor does he/she obtain an extension from the opposing party to file after the time limit. It is at this point that the Petitioner can filed for a Request for Entry of Default. The Request for Entry of Default shows to the court that the Respondent has not made an appearance via a Response to the Petition.
What does a default mean for the Respondent? Usually, it means that the Petitioner is granted what he/she requested on the Petition for Dissolution. This can include spousal support, custody, a proper division of community property, etc.
So you must be wondering, when can a default possibly be good for me? Well, if you have been served with a Summons and Petition for divorce you should first talk with a family law attorney. But, in general, a default can be of benefit if you have been granted extensions from the opposing party and have entered a Marital Settlement Agreement which settles all property, support, and custody issues. By settling all issues you have saved the time and money of appearing in court.
It is very important that you first consult with an attorney to determine if settling and possibly agreeing to default is the proper route for you. Please call Hart Legal and schedule a consultation if you have any questions regarding a default or your divorce, support, or child custody issue in general.