Couples that obtain a California default divorce judgment are usually in one of two situations. Often, these parties either have no issues to address or resolve with the court, or they have worked out an amicable divorce agreement. However, sometimes the respondent fails to file a response or cooperate with the petitioner to address or resolve marital issues. Luckily, in all three of these situations, couples can still obtain a default divorce judgment by the court.
What is a Default Divorce Judgment?
A default judgment is a binding judgment entered by the court in favor of one party. This judgment occurs due to a lack of action or failure to take action by the other party in the case. Therefore, the default judgment is usually in favor of the plaintiff or petitioner. In such cases, the court enters this judgment based on the relief requested in the original petition.
For a court to render a default judgment, the petitioning documents must set forth accurate, clear, concise details of all issues. However, if the petitioning documents are deficient in this information, the court may reject the petitioner’s request for a default judgment, and require them to amend the forms and re-serve the respondent.
How to Get a California Default Divorce Judgment
The first step to obtaining a California default divorce judgment is filing the initiating petition paperwork to start the process. Then, this petition for divorce, legal separation, or annulment is filed with the court and issued a case number. All future documents filed in the divorce proceeding must refer to the assigned case number.
After filing their case, the petitioner must formally serve their spouse with the divorce, legal separation, or annulment paperwork. This starts the clock running and sets the timeline for submitting a default divorce judgment to the court.
After the petitioner serves the initiating documents, the respondent has 30 days to file a response. During this time, the petitioner should comply with the mandatory disclosure requirements and serve their spouse with a preliminary declaration of disclosure, schedule of assets and debts, and income and expense declaration. This first preliminary disclosure is absolutely mandatory for the petitioner; however, the second and final disclosure requirements may be waived.
If the respondent fails to file a response on the 31st day, the petitioner may submit a request to enter default along with the other documentation and mandatory forms the court requires to enter a default divorce judgment.
Default Divorce Hearing
Couples do not typically require a default divorce hearing. However, judges occasionally refuse to sign a default judgment based on the submitted paperwork. In this situation, you may need to ask for a formal hearing before the judge.
Furthermore, the court may also decide that the initiating petition was deficient and did not contain sufficient factual and supporting information to enable a default judgment. In this unfortunate situation, the judge may ask the petitioner to amend and re-serve the petition on the other party with more detailed information.
Keep in mind that an annulment always requires a hearing. Therefore, the court will not enter a default judgment without formal, in-court testimony.
How A People’s Choice Can Help With Your California Default Divorce Judgment
A People’s Choice has over 35 years experience helping people successfully navigate the complex California court system. We can help you avoid many of the pitfalls that cause the court to reject your default divorce judgment. Whether you are just starting the divorce process or trying to fix a rejected default divorce judgment, we can get your divorce on track for quick processing. Contact us today – you will be surprised just how reasonable our professional help is!
How to Modify or Change a Divorce Judgment by Motion
A motion to modify a divorce judgment is less complex and less expensive than filling an appeal. Keep in mind that only certain aspects of a divorce judgment are modifiable by motion. Typical issues that can usuallybe modified post judgment are about the children. Furthermore, there must be a significant change in circumstances for the court to modify a judgment. For example, if a significant change in circumstances requires that a child custody order should be modified, the court may look at the situation to decide what is in the child’s best interest based on the new circumstances. Other issues that are usually modified post judgment include the modification of child and spousal support.
If a party asks to modify a judgment within six months of a divorce judgment, the court will often question the intent of the party filing the motion. To modify a divorce judgment you must file a Request for Order. It is fairly easy to file these types of modification motions without hiring an attorney. We do recommend, however, that you hire a professional legal document assistant who is familiar with this process.
How to File an Appeal to Change a Divorce Judgment
Modifying a divorce judgment by appeal is a much more difficult process. First of all, to win an appeal, the party filing the appeal needs to prove to the court that significant error occurred during trial. In addition, the error must be based on either fact and/or the law. The party trying to appeal the judgment must give the opposing party notice of the appeal. The moving party must meet strict deadlines and procedures when filing the appeal.
The moving party must prepare a record of appeal. The record of appeal will consist of the court reporter’s transcript and the clerk’s record. It is essential to have a court reporter at your trial to capture the oral arguments made and court rulings. The clerk’s record will consist of all documents filed with the court by the parties (example – pleadings and exhibits).
Lastly, both parties will need to file an appellate brief and make oral arguments before the court. The appellate court will review the brief, oral arguments, and relevant papers and make a ruling. The court may uphold the trial court’s decision, send the case back to trial court for a new trial, or modify the trial court’s ruling.
Filing an appeal to change a divorce judgment will require hiring an attorney who is familiar with appellate law. It is not a process we would recommend that you attempt to tackle on your own.
If you want to modify your divorce judgment to change child custody, visitation, or child or spousal support, A People’s Choice can help prepare the legal documents you need. We can also help with other types of post-judgment motions. Contact us for more information about the legal document preparation services we provide in California family law cases. You can reach us at 800-747-2780.
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I filed over a year ago the only response my husband has made was for an order to not pay spousal support. No other paperwork or showing up for court. Am I able to begin a default divorce? It’s in San Diego California. The judge said I could, the law facilitator said I could not because technically he answered. It’s been a year now? Which is true?
We would have to look at the court docket to see what paperwork has actually been filed in this case.
What does it mean when a default of marriage is entered? Does that mean that the divorce will finally be completed? Both parties have no children together and are not asking from each other.
The default process is just one of several final steps to get a divorce.
How long does it take after a default document is signed by a clerk that the divorce becomes finalized?
First, you would have to file other documents besides the default judgment. If all documents have been properly submitted it could take 2-6 months.
[…] decide there are no issues in dispute and to not file a formal response, your spouse may file a Request to Enter Default. Once a default is entered, the case is allowed to proceed unilaterally by the petitioner. Also, […]
Hi, may I ask, I am a Filipina married to an american in Las Vegas April 2018, He decided to live and retire in my country. However after 8 months of marriage and got his permanent residency, he found another woman(Filipina) and decided to move out and live with her. Now he is planning to file a divorce. He left a huge amount of debt in my credit card. I plan NOT to sign the divorce if he will not settle his unpaid bills. Can this be possible? Thank you.
Hi Genny – You may want to reach out to an attorney for legal advice if you feel that your rights are being jeopardized and that you will be associated with a large amount of debt that should be shared.
So what if a wife files for dissolution of marriage and she is the petitioner of the divorce, but refuses to sign the final documents after the 6th month time period. Can the husband file for default marriage after the 31st day of her receiving the papers? Also how long would it take for the default divorce to be finalized and for them to be legally divorced? Speaking specially about the state of California.
A respondent cannot file default. You would need to file a Response and proceed through the divorce process.
Im the petitioner. We did outside mediation. He was served and didnt respond. Our papers was submitted in May. Ive been sick and didnt file the papers for default. Technically our 6months and a day would be Nov. Will it move forward and the judge signs off on it? Or will the default papers have to be submitted? If i dont turn in the papers how long do i have to get them in? Would he be able to turn in something to speed the process or is it my responsibility? Will the case just stay open for x amount of time?
The court does set status hearings on divorce cases and will eventually set the matter for dismissal, but that is ususally quite a ways down the road. If you need help getting the final judgment put together, give us a call.
How long does adefault divorce take
There is no exact answer for this because it is all based on certain steps being completed.
I filled a long time ago, my spouse responded to the initial request but since has never responded he has not done the discovery part and disclosed his assets. I put in a request to respond in 30 days and went to court he didn’t show up. The court have another date to appear. We both didn’t appear. I had a medical issue and could not. My spouse said he wasn’t going. What else do I have to do to get a default judgment
It hard to say without looking at the court docket to see where the case is at.
How long does it take to get a default court date after a request for default is filed? In California
You do not usually have a court date in a default case.
If Husband defaults does that mean the petitioner will get everything asked for in the petition?
It could but not always. Courts will also look at fairness regarding division of community property and debt (and other issues) even before approving a default judgment.
What if the court did not look at fairness in dividing marital property and marital debt and judgment was signed by judge?
I don’t offer opinions on “what if’s.” If you need help preparing legal documents we are here to help. But this is not a law office and as per California law governing our profession, we don’t give legal advice or offer legal opinions.