Are you looking to contest default judgment in divorce? You may have found yourself in this situation because you did not file a response to your divorce proceedings. If a default judgment in divorce has been entered against you, don’t despair. You do have options.
Legal Reasons to Contest Default Judgment in Divorce
In California, a respondent can contest default judgment in divorce if the following has occurred:
- Mistake. The respondent can contest default judgment in divorce so long as there was a mistake of fact or law which resulted in the divorce being granted. A mistake of law can occur when a person misunderstands the legal consequences of known facts. For example, a person does not understand the legal consequences of dividing property. Ignorance of the law or neglect are not valid justifications.
- Surprise / Inadvertence. A respondent can contest default judgment in divorce based on surprise or inadvertence. This situation occurs when the respondent is in an unexpected detrimental situation. For example, the Petitioner may have misled or persuaded the respondent not to file a Response. Alternatively, the respondent may, for some reason, have been unaware of the proceedings due to the manner in which they were served with the divorce proceedings.
- Excusable Neglect. A respondent can also contest default judgment in divorce if they have a legitimate excuse for failing to take the required action in time. For example, the respondent may have failed to take the necessary action if he/she was ill, disabled, or mentally confused.
Keep in mind, contesting a default judgment in divorce for one of the above claims is at the discretion of the court. A motion for relief must be filed within six months of the judgement being granted. Setting aside a judgment based on equitable relief can occur after the six month period elapses.
Common grounds to contest default judgement in divorce for equitable relief include fraud and duress. A motion to vacate a judgment can be filed if judicial error occurred.
The respondent must prepare a Notice of Motion to Set Aside Default and Default Judgment. A Memorandum of Points and Authorities should go with the motion. Affidavits and declarations should also be prepared and submitted in support of the motion.
Requesting to set aside a default judgment is not easy. You can visit the California Court’s website for more information about how to set aside (cancel) an order in a divorce case. If you are ready to proceed, however, contact A People’s Choice for help in preparing the necessary documents to contest a default judgement in divorce. We can guide you through the process to set aside default judgement in divorce if you have legal reasons to do so. Call us today at 800-747-2780.
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