If you're like some of our readers here in Jersey City, you may know someone who was served with court papers indicating that they would be going through a default divorce. For a lot of people, this process is unknown and rarely considered because it does not fit with our preconceived notion of how the divorce process should go. That's why, in today's post, we're going to look at what default divorce is.
As you may already know, divorce proceedings are typically initiated by one party petitioning the court for dissolution of marriage. Court papers are then sent to the other spouse who is given a set amount of time in which to respond to the divorce request. In many cases, the other spouse responds to the request and both partners begin the process of dissolving their marriage. But in some cases, the other spouse does not respond to the request. In these cases, a default divorce may occur.
In New Jersey, if a spouse does not respond to a divorce request within the allotted time, the petitioning spouse may then "make a formal written request of the [court] clerk for the entry of [a default judgment]," which is then sent to the unresponsive spouse.
It's important to point out that because this process is not very well known by most people, it's a good idea to seek help from a qualified divorce attorney, such as from our firm. In order to have a default judgment request approved, you need to prove that you made every possible effort to contact your partner when filing your initial divorce request. You may need an attorney's help to procure the right documents to show this. An attorney can help you successfully structure your petition as well.
Sources: FindLaw, "What Does 'Default' Mean in a Divorce?" Andrew Chow, Esq., July 11, 2012
New Jersey Courts, "Rule 4:43-1. Entry of Default," Accessed April 8, 2016