The whole idea of divorce can be a surprise to a spouse. When a relationship is troubled, one party may simply get fed up and take the initiative to file for a divorce. Finding out that a default divorce is about to be made final without your knowledge, however, is an entirely different matter. Read on to find out more about how default divorces work and what you need to do sooner rather than later to put a stop to it.
Serving Divorce Papers
When one party wants to part ways with the other, they must legally inform them. This is accomplished by serving them with divorce papers. Commonly, the complaint contains the following:
1. The grounds for the divorce, if any (irreconcilable difference, desertion, adultery, etc.).
2. Provisions about child custody and visitation.
3. Provisions about property divisions.
4. Provisions about debt divisions.
As you can see from the above, the issues cited in a divorce complaint are key but there is more there than a listing of issues. The provisions stated in the complaint are requests that will be granted unless the other party disagrees with any of them. That is why the other party must take adequate steps to inform you about the complaint.
When the other party fails to respond to the complaint, the filing party (also known as the moving party) automatically gets everything they asked for. If you ignored the complaint or were never served it, you might only find out how serious things are about to get when you receive the notice of a default divorce pending. The judge will order a default divorce if the petitioner can show that they attempted to locate or serve you and after a set waiting period has passed.
Seek Legal Help
If you find out about a default divorce, even if it has already been granted, contact an attorney at once. The quicker you are to take action, the more likely it is that the judge will set aside the default judgment. If you have waited for several months to object to the divorce, the judge may be unlikely to upset child custody arrangements or marital property settlements. You must be prepared to show that you were never served, that you had no opportunity to respond or that there is no good reason for your spouse failing to serve you. When a default divorce is set aside, the process begins again at the beginning. Speak to a divorce attorney to learn more.