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What Is a Default Divorce?

Posted on in Divorce

Wheaton divorce petition lawyerWhen a person files a petition for divorce, they are required to make the other person in the relationship aware of the petition by legally serving them with the divorce papers. Once the divorce petition has been served, the other party has a window of 30 days to file a response. After the respondent has filed a response, a hearing date will be set. In rare cases, it is possible that the person being served will not respond to the divorce petition in time. If that does happen, the court may judge the divorce to be a default divorce.

What Can Happen With a Default Divorce?

If the respondent does not file their response to a divorce petition in time, a default divorce will occur. Since the court does not have a response from the other party, they will typically grant the requests in the initial divorce petition after a brief hearing. These requests can involve issues such as spousal maintenance or child support payments, property division, or child custody.  

If you are served with divorce papers, it is possible to ask for an extension before filing a full response. If an extension is granted, the petitioner will not be able to ask for a default judgment right away. After the judgment has been granted, there is also a limited period of time in which the respondent can ask the court to reconsider the judgment. It is usually necessary to have a legitimate explanation for why you did not respond to the divorce petition, and it is likely the judge will ask for proof of your explanation. 

Legitimate explanations may include the following: 

  • You can prove you were not notified of the divorce.
  • You had a personal health emergency.
  • You were engaged in active duty in the military.
  • You had a family medical emergency. 

If the judge is satisfied with the explanation, they may start the process over, which will give you an opportunity to respond to the petition and allow each party to present their case in a hearing. 

Contact a Wheaton Divorce Attorney

If you are looking for a compassionate and knowledgeable attorney to help you work through your divorce, Anderson & Associates, P.C. can provide you with the legal guidance you need. Regardless of where you are in the divorce process, our DuPage County divorce lawyers can address your concerns, protect your rights, and help you reach a positive outcome to your divorce case. Contact us today at 630-653-9400 for a free consultation.




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