How to Avoid a Default Judgment in Divorce?
The world today is a busy one and people often find there is not enough time in the day to attend to all the tasks they need to. During a divorce, there is even more to do and many people are unprepared for how the process is going to affect their schedule. Even when getting a divorce, many people try to put off certain tasks that are unpleasant, or that they simply do not think they have time for. However, this is a mistake that could greatly hurt your case in the end.
If you wait too long during the divorce process, it could result in your spouse being awarded a default judgment, which may have the potential to hurt you for years to come. Below is an explanation of default divorce judgments, and how to avoid one so you secure the fair settlement you deserve.
What is a Default Judgment During Divorce?
After one spouse files for divorce, the complaint and a summons to appear in court is served to the other spouse. The package of documents will also include steps the other spouse must take, including filing an answer to the divorce complaint. In most cases, the spouse that is served has only 20 days to respond to the complaint. Twenty days is the standard timeframe a spouse has to answer the complaint, although in some cases, this is extended.
When the spouse that is served with divorce papers does not respond in the appropriate time frame indicated, the judge may grant a default judgment to the filing spouse. This is extremely detrimental. Default judgments usually favor the spouse that initially filed for divorce and they may be awarded more in property division or secure other more favorable terms.
How to Avoid a Default Judgment
If you have not responded to a divorce complaint and your spouse has motioned for a default judgment, you can file a Motion to Set Aside Default or Default Judgment. Typically, you must do this before the judge enters their default judgment. After filing your motion, you will have to appear at a hearing and present arguments why a default judgment should not be filed. To do this, you will generally need to prove the following three elements of your case:
- You did not respond to the initial complaint due to circumstances beyond your control,
- You have a defense to the judgment and can provide evidence that demonstrates why a different judgment is appropriate, and
- You took quick action after leaning of the default judgment
When possible, you should always try to avoid a default judgment and when that is not possible, you should try to fight it.
Our Florida Family Lawyers Can Help with Default Judgments
If you are going through divorce and are concerned that your spouse is going to obtain a default judgment against you, it is essential that you take quick action. At All Family Law Group, P.A., our knowledgeable Tampa family lawyers can help you avoid a default judgment, and the consequences that are associated with them. Call us today at (813) 672-1900 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation.