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True Default Case

True Default Case - A brief explanation
Make Petition Specific - Specific vs. General
Additional Forms - What forms will you need?
Attorney Fees - Get an award of fees
True Default Judgment - Assemble all your divorce paperwork


What are some of the situations where true default cases come up?

You may want to process your divorce as an uncontested divorce, but your spouse refuses to cooperate. He or she won’t negotiate with you. Perhaps your spouse does not want the divorce and hopes that if he or she stalls, you will eventually reconcile. Perhaps your spouse is angry that you want a divorce and seeks to punish you by refusing to cooperate in any way. True default cases involve a spouse that will not respond to the divorce process and will not file a Response (FL-120) with the court after being served with a divorce petition.

What do I do if my spouse won’t cooperate and refuses to respond to my divorce petition?

You take your spouse’s default and have the court issue a “true default” divorce judgment.

Is processing a true default case similar in many respects to processing an uncontested divorce case?

Yes. In order to process a true default case, you need to follow most of the same procedures and fill out most of the same court forms as in an uncontested case. You fill out the same court forms to start the case (i.e., Summons; Petition; and, if you have children, the UCCJEA). You serve your spouse with your initial court forms after you have filed them with the court. You fill out the same Preliminary Declaration of Disclosure forms, but you will use the FL-160 instead of the FL-142. You s=ll draft your divorce judgment (FL-180), but you will use the Judicial Council forms approach and not the Marital Settlement Agreement approach.

How do I take my spouse’s default?

After you have served your spouse with your divorce petition and other initial paperwork, you wait 30 days. If your spouse fails to file a Response (FL-120) with the court within the 30 day time period, you then file a “Request To Enter Default” (FL-165) with the court. The court clerk will then enter your spouse’s default.

When the clerk enters my spouse’s default, does that mean I’m divorced?

No. After the court clerk enters your spouse’s default, you then have to submit your proposed “Judgment of Dissolution” (FL-180) to the court, along with various other court forms described in our “True Default” videos. Your proposed Judgment of Dissolution will set forth your proposals regarding the division of your property division and debts, child custody, and support. The judge will review your proposed divorce judgment and other paperwork. If everything is in order, the court will sign your divorce judgment.

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