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How long can someone ignore service with divorce papers?

On Behalf of | Jan 25, 2024 | Divorce |

Service with divorce paperwork may lead to angry confrontations between spouses in some households. Other times, one spouse may seem to ignore the documents sent by the other.

Despite serving someone in accordance with California state requirements, some people pursuing divorce in California do not receive a timely response from their spouses. They may then worry that the courts might refuse to move forward with the divorce process due to the lack of input from their spouse.

Thankfully, the law in California does not allow one person to arbitrarily block divorce proceedings. People can request a divorce by default if they do not get a response after serving a spouse.

A response isn’t necessary for a divorce

Provided that the person filing for divorce has proof of service to their spouse, they can divorce without any input from their spouse. If someone refuses to respond or procrastinates for too long, the spouse who filed the initial paperwork can ask the courts to grant them a divorce due to default.

They can submit a proposed property settlement to the courts and may even ask for financial support, including help with attorney fees, as part of the default judgment process. This practice helps protect people from a scenario in which an abusive or controlling partner could force them to remain married indefinitely despite their desire for a divorce.

Default divorce can put those who have strong emotional reactions to their divorce service at a disadvantage. If they delay their response for too long, they may find themselves at a disadvantage as the process moves forward.

Ultimately, having proper guidance when filing or responding to divorce paperwork may help people obtain the best outcome possible during a California divorce.