Filing for divorce may be difficult for both parties involved. Still, both parties must understand the steps involved in a contested divorce and a no-fault divorce (also called an uncontested divorce). Divorce filing is a legal procedure that serves as the official notification of separation to the court and each party’s intent to dissolve the marriage.
What happens when you don’t respond to a Divorce filing?
Family law attorneys in Florida advise that a response to divorce in Florida must be filed with the court within 20 days. If you fail to respond, your spouse will be granted a default judgment.
What does a default judgment mean?
Florida is a “no-fault” state, which means the court will grant a divorce if it finds that your marriage is irretrievably broken. The judge doesn’t need evidence that you did anything wrong to grant your ex-spouse’s request for a divorce. However, not responding to the petition can prevent a judge from giving you a divorce.
If you are served with divorce papers in Florida, your first instinct may be to ignore them. This is not a good idea.
To respond to divorce papers, you should:
Sign the response form and file it with the court clerk and any other required forms. If you need more time, you can also ask for more time to file your response. Let the court know why you need that extra time and how much time you think would be reasonable. The court will then set a deadline for your response. You will get notice of that deadline by mail.
If you don’t respond to the divorce papers within the time given or if you fail to attend a court hearing without telling the court in advance, the judge may grant an “order of default.”
If that happens, your spouse will win by default and will be able to get everything they asked for in the divorce petition. However, that might not be what you want. So it’s essential that you respond by filing all necessary forms with the court and attending any hearings scheduled by the judge.
Why is it important to respond to your spouse’s divorce filing in Florida?
A default judgment gives your spouse the legal right to move forward with their divorce case without your input or participation. As soon as the court enters this type of judgment, it makes any decision related to property division, child support and child custody binding on you without further notice.
This means that if there were a dispute over who would get the family dog in a divorce proceeding, the court would decide in favor of the person asking for custody instead of giving both parties an equal share as they would have if you’d filed an Answer.
When couples are in the process of getting a divorce either through mutual agreement or through the court system, it is important for them to realize that there is a need for professional help. This can be done with the help of divorce consultation. The divorce consultants will be able to provide necessary legal advice. If you need an attorney in Miami, contact Arturo R. Alfonso P.A. We can provide guidance.
Overall, if you were served any court papers for divorce in Miami and the clerk records had your address, the best thing to do is respond to the documents. Even if you disagree with the papers or think they have been filed by mistake, it’s best to still answer.
Responding will protect you from default judgment and ensure that both parties are on the same page going into legal proceedings. Above all else, you will want to avoid being caught off guard in court.