When you and your spouse find the marriage irreconcilable anymore, and you’re considering filing a divorce, then perhaps it is time to look into undergoing an uncontested divorce. 

In California, you can quickly process your case through uncontested divorce by following the correct procedures.

You might be asking what precisely an uncontested divorce is. It involves ending your marriage legally, except you and your spouse will have to willingly go to court and testify about all the differences and problems you share, including the resolution you want to achieve. This means that if you and your spouse should agree on all terms of the divorce, you can fill out the necessary paperwork and have the court decide how you can proceed. This can all be done quickly, efficiently, and reasonably, allowing both parties to get on with their lives immediately.

However, on the contrary, what happens if a spouse does not respond to the divorce case filed by the petitioner?

 

How to Respond to a Divorce Petition in California

Spouses served with a divorce petition have three options to take:

  1. Don’t respond to the divorce petition. You won’t be forced to respond, but there are considerable consequences, such as that the California court may grant your spouse’s requests, according to what’s been outlined in the filed divorce papers.
  2. Request a default judgment by mutual agreement. Signing a marital settlement agreement won’t require the respondent to respond to the petition.
  3. Respond to the petition and proceed with the divorce case subsequently, involving court appearances to facilitate agreement on all legal marital issues.

 

How Long Do You Have to Respond to Divorce Papers?

Respondents are given a 30-day deadline after the date of service to respond to the petition unless they file for an extension.

 

Failure to Respond to a Divorce Filing

If or when a spouse is served with a legal petition for divorce and does not respond accordingly, it does not prevent the case from moving forward. What happens is that the divorce will be granted by default, as stated in California law. 

 

Get legal advice on proceeding with California’s divorce process when your spouse does not diligently respond to the divorce papers. Request a free consultation with one of our specializing family lawyers here at the Law Offices of Leon F. Bennet!

 

Default/Uncontested Process or “True Default”

One spouse’s failure to respond to the other spouse’s divorce petition is still considered an uncontested divorce. But in a “true default” divorce or separation case, the spouse or partner that fails to respond to the divorce papers filed by the petitioner gives up their right to have a say in the proceedings. The case continues to move forward without the supposed respondent’s participation, and it will eventually reach a final decision nonetheless. 

 

What is a True Default Divorce in California?

A true default divorce is acknowledged and approved by the California courts in response to the following circumstances:

  1. The spouse served with divorce papers does not respond.
  2. If more than 30 days have passed since the petition and summons were served, the spouse still fails to respond.
  3. No written agreement outlining the terms of a divorce settlement is in place.

 

How to Proceed With The Default Divorce Process

The petitioner can proceed with the default divorce process by accomplishing and submitting several forms, including:

  1. Declaration of a Default Divorce
  2. Request to Enter a Default divorce
  3. Judgment Form
  4. Notice of Entry of Judgment Form

 

If you require assistance in fulfilling all requirements requested by the California court to proceed with the default divorce process, contact us today, and one of our expert lawyers will take care of your needs.

 

Expected Outcomes of Non-Responsiveness to The Divorce Petition

As non-responding spouses give away the opportunity to raise their case in the court proceedings, they can no longer argue to make changes in the requests submitted by the filing spouse. It can include asset and property management, division, or transfer. Moreover, it might significantly affect spousal support, child custody, child support, and other related items.

When parents have different income sources but agree on child custody and visitation schedules, a California default divorce may be the best route for both parents. Although couples who have this type of divorce are usually happier overall, there are always issues between divorcing parents. If parents can work together on these issues before they file their divorce papers, it could save them many hassles down the road.

 

What to Do Before Filing a Divorce

It is essential to talk things over with your partner before you decide to file for divorce. This way, you can agree on all the divorce matters, such as how the property will be divided, discuss child custody and support, and manage all important financial or personal factors.

However, moving forward, many couples who decide to file for a divorce are unsure how to begin the process. First of all, you need to find a California divorce lawyer to help file your papers and follow the correct process. Many law offices provide free consultation visits to discuss your options and determine which one would be best for your specific case. In addition to contacting a lawyer, you should also gather all of the financial information, which will make the divorce a more pleasant experience to deal with.

 

Conclusion

If you’ve been legally served with divorce or separation papers, you need to think twice before deciding not to respond. There’s a high likelihood where the petitioner gets what they requested for the court to grant over to them, which may or may not exactly work to your advantage in all angles. 

It’s often recommended for both spouses to take part in the divorce process to smoothly reach a legal decision with the help of advisors and the California court. It often leads to a better outcome if the spouses work together to achieve their desired divorce goals, especially when children are involved.

Be represented by a legal advisor in dealing with your family law cases. Learn more about your rights and discuss all legal options to identify the best strategy for your situation. Call us here today to schedule a free consultation!