What Happens If You Don't Respond To Your Spouse's Divorce Petition?

Law Blog

If you ever receive divorce papers from your spouse, resist the temptation to ignore them even if divorcing your spouse is the last thing on your mind. Failure to respond to divorce papers may attract serious consequences, for example:

You May Miss the Hearing

The first and immediate effect of your failure to acknowledge the petition is that you may miss your divorce hearing. This is because when a person files for divorce and serves their spouse with the necessary papers, the spouse who has been served has a limited time within which to respond to the sermons. If you don't respond, the court will not wait for you forever, it may proceed to the hearing stage without further communication with you.

You May Be Forced to Make an Instantaneous Response

If, one way or the other, you get to learn of the hearing date and venue, the court will not bar you from making an appearance. In fact, you will be given a chance to respond to the allegations your spouse made in their divorce petition. The only problem is that you may be forced to make a custom response. The judge may issue you with a prefilled form and ask you to sign it, and you may only have a minute to do it. As you can imagine, this kind of canned response may not be in your best interest.

The Judge May Enter a Default Judgement

The worst consequence of not responding to a divorce petition is that the court may enter a default judgment on your spouse's petition. This happens if you neither respond to the petition nor make an appearance during the hearing. In such a case, the court assumes that you aren't interested in the proceedings, and makes a determination based on the laws of the state as well as the allegations made by your spouse. As you can imagine, it's unlikely that any of these determinations will favor you; in fact, they may not even be fair.

Overturning a default divorce judgement is possible, but it isn't easy. You will need a valid explanation for not responding to the divorce petition. Therefore, it's in your best interest to respond to a divorce summons as soon as you receive the papers. Consult a divorce attorney to help you craft the perfect response depending on your circumstances. All isn't lost, however, if the default judgment has already been issued; you can still consult an attorney to help you overturn it. Talk with an attorney like the Grafton Law Office today.


6 June 2017

How to Gain Guardianship Over a Child

The laws governing child custody and guardianship can be confusing. As a family attorney, I have helped many clients gain legal guardianship over a foster child or a relative's child. Getting legal guardianship of a child you are caring for is important because you need to be able to make decisions about that child's education, health care and other matters. This blog will help you navigate the world of legal guardianship and show you how to take steps to get guardianship over a child whether the child's parents are cooperative or not. Legal guardianship does matter even if a child is not going to be adopted. I hope to help people find the way to get this done.