What Is Default Judgment in a Divorce?
If you’re reluctant to end your marriage, it can be tempting to simply do nothing with the divorce papers your spouse serves you. However, ignoring divorce papers or your hearing dates leaves you at risk of a default judgment, which means you surrender any say in the terms of your divorce.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re the spouse fighting a divorce or the spouse seeking one. If you’re a member of a divorcing couple, you should understand what a default judgment is and why a judge might issue one.
Understanding Default Judgment
When the time for your divorce hearing rolls around, both spouses must appear in court. If one fails to show up, the other can request that a default be entered against them. This is legal documentation establishing that one spouse failed to show up to court for the hearing.
Having a default filed against you means that your spouse has grounds to request a default judgment. This means the judge might simply agree to the terms requested by the spouse who appeared. Once a default judgment is granted, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to undo it.
Not showing up to court doesn’t look good to a judge. It sends the message that you don’t respect the justice system and might not care about the terms of your divorce. If you want to avoid a default judgment in your divorce case, it’s a good idea to hire a divorce attorney and attend any relevant court hearings.
The Cost of a Default Judgment
Depending on what your spouse is hoping to get out of the divorce, a default judgment can come with a steep cost. In a best-case scenario, you agree to the terms of the divorce, and a default judgment doesn’t cost you anything. However, this isn’t usually how things turn out.
Much of the time, the spouse who files for divorce might request more than their fair share of marital assets. For example, they might want to retain sole ownership of a shared home and full custody of children, as well as alimony and child support payments.
Allowing a default judgment in your divorce means you hand over decision-making power in areas that include:
- Property ownership
- Bank account holdings
- Division of debt
- Child custody
- Parenting time
- Child support payments
- Alimony payments
Ignoring a divorce hearing doesn’t have any benefits and does have some serious downsides. For instance, you risk losing your assets or custody of your children to your spouse. You can’t stop a divorce from moving forward, but you can protect your future, finances, and family by taking the proceedings seriously and fighting for the best possible outcome.
Need Help With a Michigan Divorce?
Gucciardo Family Law is a Michigan family law firm serving clients in the Detroit area. We work with clients going through a divorce to mitigate losses and plan for success. We can help you avoid a default judgment by creating a plan for handling divorce paperwork, assisting with divorce mediation, and representing you in court.
Give us a call today to schedule a consultation with an experienced Michigan divorce attorney at Gucciardo Family Law.
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