Not every divorce involves a trial, and in many cases the divorcing spouses do not even need to hire lawyers. The messy divorces you see in the movies are contested divorces. In a contested divorce, each spouse submits papers to the court specifying what he or she wants. A trial can take for a few days to several weeks. In a contested divorce, the spouses’ demands are mutually exclusive. For example, one party may want permanent alimony, but the other spouse wants to pay no alimony. Therefore, a judge must decide. A divorce trial, however, is different than a default hearing in divorce.
In an uncontested divorce, though, there is no trial. The couple can agree to all of the issues and sign a Marital Settlement Agreement that lays out what they agree on and who will get what in the divorce. The judge simply approves the agreement and declares the couple legally divorced. Default divorce is another kind of uncontested divorce. In a default divorce, one spouse files a divorce petition, but the other spouse does not respond. In some cases, there is even a default hearing in divorce. If you are planning to divorce, having a registered legal document assistant (LDA) prepare your papers is a cost-effective alternative to hiring a lawyer.
How to Get a Default Judgment
When you decide to divorce, you file a divorce petition with the court in your county. California law requires you to serve your spouse with divorce papers. To do this, you must follow the legal procedures for serving papers. A person authorized to serve the papers must deliver them to your spouse in person and, if that does not work, send them by mail or hand them in person to another adult at your spouse’s address. There are also forms to file related to the attempts to serve papers. Your spouse must respond within 30 days of being served with the divorce papers. If your spouse does not respond, then he or she is in default. Once the court enters a default, he or she loses the right to have the judge consider his or her requests in the divorce.
Attending a Default Hearing in Divorce Case
In most cases, the court will not set a default hearing in divorce. The judge will merely issue a default judgment without a hearing. In other cases, though, the court may set a default hearing in divorce. It is hard to say why some judges will set a default hearing in divorce. If the court does set a hearing, don’t be concerned. Often these hearings are simply a formality to make sure the default judgment is fair. After all, usually in these types of default cases, the other party is not appearing or agreeing to the terms of the judgment. At the hearing, you once again get to tell the judge what you request in the divorce. It is important to emphasize that you have made every attempt to contact your spouse about the divorce, but you have gotten no response.
Divorce by Default Does Not Require a Lawyer
If your spouse has not responded to your divorce petition, you do not need a lawyer. If your papers are correctly prepared, you are in a strong position legally, and your documents will stand on their own. Even if you have children, you can still get a default judgment without hiring a lawyer. You just need to file additional forms related to your children. If you need to address child custody, visitation, support, property division and/or debt, it does help, though, to have a registered LDA professionally prepare your documents.
A registered legal document assistant can prepare your divorce documents for you, so that you can get a default judgment as quickly as possible and be single again. Contact A People’s Choice about divorce petitions and other documents related to divorce. Call us today at 800-747-2780.
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