What if I don’t respond to Divorce Papers?
Family Lawyer Explains Consequences of Not Responding to Divorce Papers
- DEFAULT JUDGMENT: A default divorce judgment is entered. During this time, your spouse can ask a judge to grant him or her the orders requested in the divorce papers. This happens because your failure to respond relinquishes you of your rights to challenge those papers. If there are no child custody questions, child support issues, alimony, or similar money issues in the orders, the divorce can conclude without your presence.
- HEARING ON MONEY/CHILDREN ISSUES: If, however, money is an issue in the divorce, or if you have children with your spouse, things will proceed differently. Money issues can include alimony and child support, and you are entitled by law to debate any amounts therein. Parenting plans must also be decided between you and your spouse regardless of a default divorce.
- FILE A MOTION TO VACATE: If you find yourself unable (but not unwilling) to respond to the divorce papers in some way, you have the option of filing a motion to vacate, which, if granted, can withdraw the default judgment.
In Florida, you have 20 days from the day you were served to respond. If you do not respond during this time, the above scenarios can play out. A failure to respond to a divorce petition served on you in Tallahassee or any city in Florida can only hurt your interests in the divorce. Family Law Attorney Matt Liebenhaut can help you protect your assets and better prepare for your divorce. The thought of divorce can be difficult to accept, but it’s in your best interests to respond promptly when your spouse serves you with divorce papers. Divorce is hard; ease your burden and let us help you end your marriage on terms that work for you and your family.
Other Common Divorce Questions – Information from a Tallahassee Divorce Lawyer