No one enters into a marriage with the intention of getting a divorce. Unfortunately, some couples grow apart and find that they no longer wish to be legally married. Since a marriage contract is a legal document, steps must be taken in court to dissolve this contract.
When one party fails to respond to divorce pleadings, a default judgement may be entered against him or her. Here are three things that you can do to help clear a default judgement against you from your divorce case in order to protect your interests.
1. Prove excusable neglect.
In order for the court to set aside the default judgement against you, it's imperative that you are able to prove your failure to respond to the initial divorce proceedings was caused by circumstances outside your control.
This is a concept known as excusable neglect. Some common reasons why people are unable to answer a divorce complaint can include serious illness, hospitalization, or a failure to receive the complaint through proper service.
2. Prove that you have a meritorious defense.
A default judgement is used by the court to make decisions regarding the dissolution of a marriage legal. Some of these decisions can have a significant impact on your life. Issues like the distribution of assets, the party responsible for repaying certain debts, and child custody can all be included in a default judgement.
If you can prove that you would have had a serious chance of winning when it comes to any of the issues outlined in the default judgement, you have what is called a meritorious defense. This meritorious defense is often enough reason for the court to set the default judgement aside in order to let you plead your case.
3. Prove that you took prompt action.
Being able to show that you took prompt action to address the default judgement once you learned of its existence is critical when it comes to successfully asking a judge to set the judgement aside.
A judge will view any delays as cause to let the default judgement stand, so you need to meet with your divorce attorney immediately if a default judgement has been filed against you in order to have a shot at protecting your assets.
Discovering that a default judgement has been awarded to your former spouse in a divorce case can be unsettling. Work with your attorney to prove that the judgement should be set aside so that you can resolve any outstanding issues in court.