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Avoiding a Default Judgment in Divorce


People today are very busy and at times, it may seem as though there is not enough time to do everything that needs to get done. The divorce process only brings even more to do and many people do not know how proceedings will impact their schedule. Even when going through a divorce, many people want to put off unpleasant tasks, or they may think they do not have time for certain matters. However, putting off certain aspects of your divorce is a decision that could hurt you for years to come.

If you delay certain aspects of your divorce, your spouse may be awarded a default judgment. This is very detrimental. Below, our Orlando divorce lawyer explains default judgments further, and how to avoid one so you obtain the fair settlement you are entitled to.

What is a Default Judgment in Divorce? 

All divorce cases start with one spouse filing a complaint with the court. The other spouse is then served with a copy of the complaint, along with a summons to appear in court. The spouse will also be served with instructions about the next steps to take, including submitting an answer to the divorce complaint. Generally speaking, spouses have 20 days to submit their response but that time limit can be extended in certain instances.

When someone does not respond to divorce papers after being served, the judge may grant a default judgment to the spouse who filed divorce first. Typically, default judgments favor the spouse that filed for divorce first and they may secure better terms, such as being awarded more in property division.

Avoiding a Default Judgment 

If you do not respond to a divorce complaint, your spouse can motion the court for a default judgment. In this case, you may be able to file a motion of your own to set aside the default judgment but you must do so before the judgment is entered. Once you have filed your motion, you then must appear at a hearing and make arguments as to why your spouse should not be awarded a default judgment. To do this successfully, you must prove three elements of your case. They are as follows:

  • There were circumstances beyond your control that caused you not to respond to the complaint initially,
  • You have defenses to the judgment as well as evidence that shows why a different judgment is appropriate, and
  • After learning of the default judgment, you quickly took action.

Our Divorce Lawyer in Orlando Can Help You Avoid a Default Judgment

 Default judgments in divorce can negatively impact you for years but fortunately, they are fairly easy to avoid. At Anderson & Ferrin, P.A., our Orlando divorce lawyer can outline the steps to take to avoid such a judgment and will guide you through the entire process so you obtain the fair settlement you deserve. Call us now at 407-412-7041 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation and to get the legal help you need.



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