Ignoring your divorce won’t make it go away

Dealing with a divorce can be difficult and it is understandable that individuals may feel overwhelmed.  This feeling of being overwhelmed results in some people choosing to ignore the process. Whether this is done due to feelings of denial, frustration, or simply being unable to cope, ignoring the proceedings can have significant negative consequences.

If you fail to respond to the Complaint for Divorce within 35 days of being served, the other party can have you held in default. Simply put, this means that provided the plaintiff follows all the procedural requirements he or she can divorced on their proposed terms without your input or objection.

The following case summary explains the realities of defaulting in your divorce:

FAMILY LAW
20-2-2783 Mora v. Mora

FAMILY LAW
20-2-2783 Mora v. Mora, N.J. Super. App. Div. (per curiam) (9 pp.) Respondent-husband filed a divorce complaint to which appellant-wife failed to answer. Respondent filed a notice of proposed final judgment which included an itemization of the parties’ assets and included a proposed trial date. The trial court conducted a hearing and entered a final judgment of divorce at its conclusion. Appellant was present at the hearing. Appellant subsequently moved to vacate the FJOD allegedly claiming that respondent’s attorney had a conflict of interest, she had not been served with the divorce complaint, and was unaware of the pending divorce. The trial court determined there was no conflict of interest or showing of excusable neglect in failing to answer the complaint or otherwise participate in the litigation and affirmed the FJOD. On appeal, the court affirmed holding the trial court’s denial of appellant’s motion did not constitute an abuse of discretion. The court noted the grounds which appellant asserted to support her motion were unsupported by, and in some instances contrary, to the facts. Additionally, the trial court gave appellant the opportunity to participate in the proof hearing by questioning respondent, but appellant declined to do so. Finally, the court held appellant had not demonstrated the trial court’s decision was inherently unfair or contrary to applicable legal principles.

, N.J. Super. App. Div. (per curiam) (9 pp.) Respondent-husband filed a divorce complaint to which appellant-wife failed to answer. Respondent filed a notice of proposed final judgment which included an itemization of the parties’ assets and included a proposed trial date. The trial court conducted a hearing and entered a final judgment of divorce at its conclusion. Appellant was present at the hearing. Appellant subsequently moved to vacate the FJOD allegedly claiming that respondent’s attorney had a conflict of interest, she had not been served with the divorce complaint, and was unaware of the pending divorce. The trial court determined there was no conflict of interest or showing of excusable neglect in failing to answer the complaint or otherwise participate in the litigation and affirmed the FJOD. On appeal, the court affirmed holding the trial court’s denial of appellant’s motion did not constitute an abuse of discretion. The court noted the grounds which appellant asserted to support her motion were unsupported by, and in some instances contrary, to the facts. Additionally, the trial court gave appellant the opportunity to participate in the proof hearing by questioning respondent, but appellant declined to do so. Finally, the court held appellant had not demonstrated the trial court’s decision was inherently unfair or contrary to applicable legal principles.

 

Hiring an attorney is one method in which you can minimize the chances you will be held in default.  There may also be remedial measures that can be taken if default has already been entered.

About Sandy Durst

Sandy Durst, Esq., is the founding partner of The Durst Firm where he heads the Family Law Department. Individuals facing a divorce benefit from the combination of legal skill, common sense and compassion that Sandy brings to each and every matter. Each case is given the personalized attention it deserves.

This entry was posted in Durst Firm News and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.