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What Is a Divorce By Default?


Whether you're considering filing for divorce or just received a divorce petition from your spouse, you may have heard the term "divorce by default" somewhere before. Today, we're covering exactly what a divorce by default is, so you can enter your divorce dispute armed with the knowledge you need to succeed.

"True Default" Divorces in California

True default divorces are fairly uncommon. In a "true default" case, one individual files for a divorce against their spouse, without coming to an agreement beforehand on how to handle various divorce-related processes such as property division, child support and custody, and alimony, and their spouse fails to file a response.

If you file for divorce against a person and they still have not filed a response with the court after 30 days, you may be able to proceed with a true default divorce.

To get a true default divorce, you'll need to file additional forms with the court presiding over the case, including "Request to Enter Default," "Declaration for Default or Uncontested Dissolution or Legal Separation," "Judgment," and "Notice of Entry or Judgment" forms.

Depending on other details of the divorce - such as whether children are involved, and you would like custody of them, whether you or your spouse may have a spousal or child support obligation, etc. - you may need to file additional forms, which can make the process of obtaining a "true default" divorce significantly more lengthy.

However, if the judge presiding over the case assesses the details and determines a true default judgment is in order, obtaining one should be relatively easy.

What's the Alternative to a True Default Divorce?

Frequently, "uncontested" divorces in which the respondent waives their right to respond to the divorce petition are also called "default" divorces in CA.

In this type of divorce, the spouses meet with each other ahead of time and agree on terms for the divorce, enclosing those terms in a divorce agreement both parties then sign. Since the parties have reached an agreement on how to handle the divorce, the respondent (the individual who receive the divorce petition) can waive their right to respond, allowing the court to proceed with the divorce as though it was a default divorce.

At Arnold Law Group, APC, we'll help you find the best path forward in your divorce. Contact us online or by phone to schedule a consultation with our team.

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