When filing for divorce, there are a lot of legal terms and concepts you may encounter. One term you may hear is “default divorce.”
A California default divorce occurs if your spouse (who did not file for divorce) does not file a written response to the divorce petition. If this happens, then the petitioner (person who files for divorce) is granted a divorce by the court.
Why do default divorces exist?
There are a few reasons that default divorces exist in California. These reasons include situations where the non-filing spouse (respondent):
- Is not aware of the divorce proceedings
- Have chosen to ignore the divorce
- Have decided they won’t cooperate with the divorce
The goal is to ensure the filing spouse can move forward with the proceedings even if the other party can’t be located, tries to avoid the situation or ignores the divorce petition entirely.
How do default divorces work?
When the respondent receives the divorce petition, there is a request for a response. If this response is not provided, then the person who filed for divorce can move forward with a default divorce. The respondent has 30 days from being served with the petition to respond, or the default divorce can move forward.
In these situations, the court will typically grant a divorce based on the petitioners’ requests since there is no one to oppose their requests. The judgment cannot be set aside after a default divorce has been granted.
Moving forward with a default divorce
Default divorces occur to help move these cases through the court system. If you aren’t sure if this type of divorce is possible in your situation, you can explore your options. However, in many cases, this type of divorce will allow you to move forward and on with your life even if the other party is not responding or does not want the divorce.