A default judgment is an easy way to get a final divorce judgment, and can be obtained when the other spouse does not formally file a Response to the Petition. A “Default Judgment” can occur when the other spouse (the respondent) does not formally respond to the Summons and Petition for Dissolution. When a case proceeds by way of a default judgment, the other party does not have to pay a “first appearance fee” which is now $435.00.  It should be noted, however, that in most default judgement cases, the parties mutually agree to resolve all of their issues surrounding their marriage. Their agreement is formalized in a marital settlement agreement which is then attached to the Judgment and becomes a court order.

Sometimes, however, the parties do not sign a marital settlement agreement. Perhaps there are no assets or debts to divide and no issues of child custody, visitation, support or spousal support. In this situation, there is no need for a marital settlement agreement. When there are no assets or debts to divide and no other issues to be addressed, the judgment paperwork is fairly simple.

In other situations, the other spouse may be refusing to cooperate. When this happens, obtaining a default judgment is a little more complicated and requires extra paperwork to address the issues of assets, debts, children or support.