What is a Default Divorce?

When couples get married they usually don’t think it will ever end in divorce. Unfortunately, for many people, relationships eventually end. Some people wonder, what is a default divorce? In a divorce, one party initiates the proceedings by filing a petition with the court. The other spouse may provide input and may even dispute the terms of the settlement. When one person fails to respond to a petition, the other party may seek a default divorce.

The Divorce Process in Arizona

The spouse who initiates the process is called the Petitioner. The other spouse is called the Respondent. The petition is filed with the court, requesting dissolution of marriage. The Respondent generally is allowed 20 days to provide a response. If the Respondent was served with the petition out of state, s/he has 30 days to respond. If no answer was provided within the allotted time period, the Petitioner may apply for a default divorce.

Applying for a Default Divorce

If the Respondent does not answer the petition, the Petitioner may request a default divorce. An application must be filed stating that the Respondent failed to answer the petition. Proof must be provided that the spouse was served with the appropriate paperwork. A hearing may be scheduled to review your divorce case. In a standard divorce, couples must wait for a period of 60 days post-service before the divorce can be finalized.

Hearing for a Default Divorce

If the Respondent still does not file a response after the Application for default has been filed, a hearing will be scheduled. The hearing allows the judge to review the details of your divorce case and make an order. The Respondent gives up his or her rights to protest the settlement terms of the divorce. The judge will make a final determination and parties must obey the order. The dissolution of marriage will be final, even though one spouse did not attend the hearing.

Resolving Difficult Divorce Matters

Some divorces are more difficult than others. There are a number of reasons why a spouse may not respond to a divorce petition. The spouse may live out of town, may be unavailable, or may simply not care about the details. The Respondent may have already removed his or her own property from the premises, and there may not be any further need to review the settlement issues. A couple may have been together a short time, or may not have accumulated many community assets.

If you are going through a divorce, you may qualify for default dissolution of marriage. Call the experienced family lawyers at Udall Shumway PLC to learn more about your divorce options.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Default Divorce, or any other family law issue, please feel free to contact Sheri D. Shepard at 480.461.5300, log on to udallshumway.com, or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.