Default Divorce: What Is It and How Can It Make Your Life Easier
It’s January, also known as Divorce Month. As mentioned in previous blog posts, January is when the most divorce complaints are filed throughout the United States. Many questions why January is such a popular time to get divorced. Many divorce attorneys say that people actually made the decision in December but wanted to wait until after the holidays to go through with the paperwork. Whatever the case may be, if you’re contemplating a divorce, then you should know about a default divorce.
A default divorce is when the court grants a divorce even if one side doesn’t answer the complaint or appear in the case. What happens is the one spouse files the complaint and serves a copy to the other spouse. If the defendant fails to answer the complaint within 35 days, then the plaintiff has 60 days to file a request asking the court to grant a default judgment.
Sometimes, a default divorce can be granted if the spouses agree to terms outside of a courtroom and one file for the divorce. This can save time and money to the defendant by not answering the charges. However, if you go this route you should prepare and sign a marital settlement agreement after consulting a divorce attorney.
In a few New Jersey counties, a default divorce can be done without even stepping into a courtroom. All the spouses must do is submit a signed settlement agreement which answers all the questions a judge would ask at a default hearing. Ask your divorce attorney if this option is available in your county.
However, if you don’t have a settlement in the works or your county doesn’t allow this option, then you’re going to have to go to a hearing. Just like a normal divorce proceeding, a date will be set for your hearing and the plaintiff will have to serve the defendant a notice of the hearing date as well as a proposed final judgment of divorce. If you have a signed settlement agreement, you should include this with the notice. The notice must be served within 20 days before the hearing and you will need to present proof of service at the hearing.
If you are interested in getting a divorce, you’re going to need an attorney. Contact the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone today for a free consultation.