As if “divorce by default” isn’t a foreign enough term on its own, we get the wonderful opportunity to inform you that there are actually two types. Both types refer to a divorce where one party files a petition and the other does not file a response. See below for a short, to the point, explanation of both.
If a response has not been filed to the Petition for Divorce, the Petitioner (the spouse that filed for divorce) can move forward with the divorce by filing a Request for Default with the court. The effect of the Default is that the spouse who has not filed a Response will be giving up their right to have any say in their divorce. After (or concurrently) with the filing of a Request for Default, the Petitioner can prepare a (proposed) Judgment for the Judge to review (and hopefully) sign off on. On a rare occasion, the Judge may want you to come to court to explain what orders you want and why (e.g. I’d like to sell the house and split the proceeds equally because we purchased the home during our marriage with joint funds).
Default (aka “uncontested”) Divorce
If a response has not been filed but you and your spouse have a complete agreement on all issues pertaining to your divorce, the Petitioner can proceed forward with a Request for Default to avoid having to pay a second filing fee and to cut down on other paperwork. In this scenario, the Petitioner will prepare all the documents required in the divorce but both parties will participate in the drafting, reviewing and signing of a Marital Settlement Agreement and/or Stipulated Divorce Judgment.
Whichever type of default divorce, we’ve got the legal help you need.