What Can Your Lawyer Do if Your Spouse Ignores Your Divorce Petition?

Divorce can be a challenging and emotional process, but it becomes even more complicated when your spouse ignores your divorce petition. In such situations, you may feel helpless and unsure of what to do next. Fortunately, a skilled Albany divorce attorney has the legal expertise to help you navigate through this difficult time.

Below we’ll discuss the more common actions your lawyer can take if your spouse ignores your divorce petition.

Your Divorce Attorney Will Work to Ensure Your Spouse Has Been Served

First, your divorce attorney will ensure that your spouse has been properly served. Typically, your divorce lawyer in Albany will attempt to personally serve a copy of your complaint for divorce on your spouse. They can do this via certified mail or a personal courier.

If your spouse has hired a divorce lawyer, your attorney can reach out to your spouse’s lawyer to request that your spouse respond to your divorce petition.

If your spouse can’t be located, your divorce attorney can file a motion asking that your spouse be served with the divorce petition by publication. This means that a notice of the pending divorce action will be published in a local newspaper.

Your Divorce Lawyer Can Certain File a Motion for Default Judgment

If your spouse has been properly served but refuses to respond to your divorce petition, your divorce lawyer will file a motion for default judgment. Obtaining a default judgment will finalize the divorce without your spouse’s input or involvement.

If the judge grants the default judgment, it means you don’t have to prove grounds for divorce. Your attorney will ask the judge to approve your divorce settlement agreement as well. Unless there are special circumstances, there’s no reason why the judge won’t grant this request.

What Can Your Attorney Do Once They Obtain a Default Judgment?

After your Albany divorce attorney obtains a default judgment for divorce, they can begin the process of asset division and child custody determination.

When the judge grants your default judgment, they do so based on the terms outlined in your agreement. Your divorce lawyer in Albany will start to enforce the terms of the marital settlement agreement right away.

Can Your Spouse Request That the Default Judgment for Divorce Be Vacated?

If your spouse is served with divorce papers and doesn’t respond to the petition, the court may grant a default judgment in your favor. This means that the court will grant the divorce without hearing from your spouse or considering their side of the story.

However, if they later decide that they want to contest the divorce, they can ask the court to vacate (cancel) the default judgment. The judge will expect to see proof that there was a legitimate and valid reason for their failure to participate in the divorce proceedings.

Divorce lawyer in Albany, Georgia

Your soon-to-be ex-spouse must file a motion with the court and explain why they did not respond to the original divorce petition. The court will then decide whether to vacate the default judgment and allow them to contest the divorce.

If the court decides in their favor, they’ll be given a chance to present their side of the story and argue why the divorce should not be granted. Thankfully, your Albany divorce attorney will be right there to explain to the judge why their request should be denied.

As a Last Resort, You Can Ask That the Judge Find Your Spouse in Contempt of Court

If your lawyer has done everything possible to encourage your spouse to file a response to your divorce petition, your attorney can request that your spouse be held in contempt of court.

Your divorce lawyer in Albany will have to file a motion with the court, laying out the facts and requesting specific relief. There will be a motion hearing scheduled, usually in a matter of weeks.

If your spouse fails to show up for this hearing or fails to provide a good reason for ignoring the divorce petition, they may be held in contempt of court. If this happens, they’ll be subject to sanctions, such as fines or jail time.

Can Your Lawyer Request That Your Spouse Pay Your Attorney Fees?

If your spouse is held in contempt of court, your divorce lawyer in Albany can ask that they be ordered to pay your attorney’s fees. Even if the judge won’t order them to pay all your attorney fees, they may order them to pay part of them.

Your attorney will have to demonstrate how much time and money was dedicated to your motion for default and efforts at serving the other party. Whether the judge will grant your request will depend on the circumstances.

Contact a Seasoned Albany Divorce Attorney and See What Your Options Are

Deciding to file for divorce is a very hard decision to make. It is made more difficult when your spouse ignores your petition for divorce. This is when it’s time to seek help from an experienced divorce lawyer in Albany.

If your spouse ignores your divorce petition, it can be a stressful and difficult situation to navigate. Your Albany divorce attorney is an invaluable resource who can provide legal advice.

Contact our office today at 229-210-6226 and schedule your initial case review.

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