You should be able to divorce your spouse and get out of an unhappy marriage, even if said spouse does not want to be cooperative. Fortunately, the state does recognize that and does offer people the ability to get a divorce even if their soon-to-be ex will not respond to anything. Our Elizabeth divorce & family law attorneys can help guide you through the entire process.
Does My Spouse Need to Respond to Divorce Papers?
In New Jersey, one person needs to file the papers and begin the divorce proceedings. The spouse of that person is then served with divorce papers. They are supposed to return them with a signature, and they are given an opportunity to make an argument of their own.
What if they do not return the papers? Well, the divorce just continues onward anyway. This process only stops if the person who originally filed the paperwork withdraws their petition. So as long as you continue to want the divorce, it is going to go on. Eventually, if your spouse continues to be noncooperative, you will end up with a default judgment.
What is a Default Judgment?
Your spouse has 35 days to respond to the divorce papers they have been served with. Once that limit is reached, you have 60 days to ask the court for a default judgment. This allows you to continue with the divorce without your spouse’s presence. A judge will enter a default judgment and begin to make decisions about what will happen to the assets you own and your children. This judgment can determine:
- The division of property
- Child custody
- Child support
You will want to have your own lawyer for this. Even though your spouse is not there for the judgment, the court will still seek to make things as equitable as possible. So having an attorney by your side who can make arguments for you and fight for the best outcomes on all of these fronts can be quite beneficial.
What Evidence Do I Need to Get a Default Judgment Against My Spouse?
It is also important to note that you have to show a few things before you can ask for that default judgment. The court needs to know that you made a good-faith effort to keep your spouse looped in on this proceedings. You should be prepared to show that:
- Your spouse was served
- They did not respond to your petition
- They are not in the military
All of these things show that your spouse had a chance to be a part of this process, but they did not take it.
Schedule Your Consultation
If you are ready to go through with the divorce process, contact Ross & Calandrillo, LLC and schedule a consultation. We are ready to tell you more about what our law firm can do for you in this difficult time.