If you have received notice of a divorce, child custody, or child support case filed against you it is crucial to respond quickly and correctly. When a party does not respond to a petition, a default divorce can be entered. Normally, when served with a Florida divorce petition there is only 20 days to file a response. If a response is not timely filed, the petitioner (person filing the case) can request a default divorce be entered against the other party. Default divorce judgments can be helpful but are not right for every case. If you need legal advice you should contact a divorce attorney in Tampa for a consultation.
What is a Default Divorce in Florida
If a default is entered the case can continue without participation by the defaulted party. Further, a default divorce judgment may be entered by the judge. Moreover, the Court can enter the default without even having a hearing on the matter. If the Court enters a default, the defendant/ respondent will not have an opportunity to contest the merits case or raise defenses. See Residential v. Rector. Moreover, if you are defaulted you may not even be entitled to notice of future court hearings or other activity. See Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure.
Clerk Default Divorce vs. Judicial Default Divorce
Under Florida law, there are two types of default: clerk and judicial. Clerk default occurs when a party fails to respond in any form to the petition. The second category of default, judicial default, takes place when a party fails to plead or defend against the claims against them. A party can plead or defend claims against them at any time before a default is entered against them. Conversely, once the default is entered the defaulted party is deemed to have waived their defenses and is treated as having admitted all the allegations. See State Farm v. Horkheimer.
A clerk’s default can be entered without even a hearing or notice to the other party. On the other hand, a judicial default generally requires a hearing and notice of the hearing to be sent to the nonresponding party. At the hearing for a judicial default divorce, the party will have an opportunity to try and persuade the judge to not enter the default divorce.
The outcome of a family law case can have drastic consequences on your finances and family. If you have been notified of a case against contact an attorney as soon as possible. If an adequate response is not timely filed, you may lose your right to defend against the case.
Tampa Divorce Law Firm
If you have been served with a lawsuit, such as a divorce petition or child custody case contact Florida Law Advisers to speak with a divorce attorney in Tampa. Each case is different, and our vast experience allows us to cater our services to each client’s individual situation. Our professional legal team is passionate about these matters and work tirelessly to represent our clients. To speak with an attorney call us today at 800 990 7763, we are available to answer your call 24/7.