Yuma, AZ – There are a number of different procedural rules in family court that can be important for determining how a divorce case will be resolved. There are some situations where a party served with a divorce has a certain time limit to respond. If there is no response in a certain timeframe, the court will grant a default judgment to the spouse who filed the divorce case. However, there are limited possibilities where a spouse can reverse this process if they convince the court that they were not able to respond for a good reason.
What causes a default?
Once a person is served with divorce paperwork and the divorce petition is filed in the local courts, there must be a formal response from the spouse or their lawyer. As a general rule, defendants in lawsuits always need to be given formal notice of an action against them, usually through personal service. There are some exceptions for when a defendant in a lawsuit cannot be located.
In certain civil cases, a default judgment will be granted in favor of the plaintiff if the defendant does not respond at all, or within the time limit. The default judgment is a court order that says the divorce was granted and finalized without hearing from the defendant spouse at all.
Related issues after a default
Even if a divorce is granted through a default judgment, the family court will still need to decide issues related to child custody, property division, and the possibility of alimony. This is normally done by the plaintiff filing whatever information is available at the time, then the court will attempt to make a decision based on their own guidelines for equitable property division and the best interests of the child. Even though the information is incomplete, the judge needs to use their discretion.
Reversing a default judgment
There are some times where the defendant spouse who did not respond earlier may be able to schedule another hearing and essentially have certain parts of the divorce done over. The court will need to see evidence of an emergency, extended travel, or some other reason why the defendant never responded if they are to take this request seriously. If the judge grants the request, this essentially resets most of the divorce from the beginning and many of the same issues will need to be litigated again with both sides present.
Getting help with a divorce in Arizona
Schneider and Onofry handle various family law issues such as divorces and child custody problems in the Yuma area. The firm provides the highest quality representation and service to local clients.
Firm contact info:
207 W. 2nd St., Yuma AZ 85364