Divorce is often a challenging and lengthy process. It can be even more challenging when one spouse opposes the divorce and refuses to respond or cooperate. During these situations, it is crucial to understand that there are several options available if you find yourself in this scenario. One of those options is a default divorce. An experienced California divorce attorney can often be the solution to successfully completing your default divorce in the state of California.

The most important information to note is refusing a divorce or ignoring it altogether will not prevent the divorce from proceeding. California is a no-fault state, and under California state law, the spouse’s consent is not a requirement for a divorce to be finalized. Therefore, it is absolutely possible for a divorce to proceed without any voluntary involvement from the non-responsive spouse. In this scenario, a default divorce can be requested.

Default Divorce in Orange County

True Default Divorce

A default divorce can help resolve divorces where one spouse attempts to prevent the divorce by refusing to respond to the filing or evading the process server. Once a divorce has been submitted, the non-filing spouse has thirty days to issue a response. If there is no response within that thirty-day window, then the filing spouse can request the court to issue a default divorce.

A default divorce notice will be sent to the non-responsive spouse, giving them another opportunity to appear before the court and provide their response. If again the spouse does not respond, then the judge will most likely rule in favor of the filing spouse.

In the eyes of the judge and the court, the spouse’s unresponsiveness indicates that the spouse is not willing to cooperate and, therefore, does not wish to be included in the divorce settlement proceedings. The filing spouse will most likely be granted the settlement they request from the judge.

Default Divorce With Agreement

There is also a situation in which both spouses do agree, and they both decide to proceed with a default divorce. The reason for this is that a default divorce can often be much cheaper to file. For example, if the non-filing spouse does not respond, then they will oftentimes not have to pay the court filing fee.

Another benefit to a default divorce with agreement is that the judge will often rule in favor of the default agreement. This means that however the spouses agreed to split up assets, decide alimony payments, etc., will most likely be granted.

The process for getting a default divorce with agreement begins with drafting up a divorce settlement that outlines how the spouses plan to divide assets, child custody, alimony payments, etc. The filing spouse then files the required court paperwork for divorce. The non-filing spouse will then receive the divorce paperwork, to which they will not respond. After the thirty-day window is up, the forms can be finalized, and the divorce agreement can be granted.

Whether it is a true default divorce or a default divorce with agreement, a default divorce can sometimes be in the best interest of all parties involved. A qualified family law attorney can help in both situations by providing sound advice and negotiation support, and then helping to draft a proper divorce settlement or divorce agreement.


Q: What Is a Default Divorce in Orange County?

A: A default divorce in Orange County is a divorce that is decided by the court without the input of the non-filing spouse. A default divorce is often used in cases where a spouse is not responding to the divorce papers. A spouse has thirty days to respond once divorce papers have been served. If there is no response, then the filing spouse can request that the court order a default divorce. The court will then decide on the case.

Q: How Long Does a True Default Divorce Take in California?

A: In California, a default divorce can take several months to finalize. It can take as little as six months or as much as a year to finalize. It often depends on the complexity of the divorce and the factors that must be considered before it can be finalized. Issues like alimony, child custody, child support, or division of high-value assets are likely to make the divorce more complex. California state law gives every opportunity for both spouses to be present during the divorce.

Q: Can a Default Divorce Judgment Be Reversed in California?

A: Yes, a default divorce judgment can be reversed in California. Reversing a default divorce would require the filing spouse to petition the court. The petition will need to be supported with evidence of the mistake or issue prompting the reversal. A motion to remove the default divorce must be issued before the judge has ruled or within six months after the ruling was made.

Q: What Is The Ten-Year Rule For Divorce in California?

A: Under California state law, there is a rule in place for marriages that last ten or more years. This distinction in duration is important because a divorce following a long-term marriage is handled differently by the court. For example, the court retains jurisdiction after the final divorce decree and can alter the amount or duration of a spousal support order if circumstances change.

Family Lawyers at Your Side

Divorce can be a challenging experience for those involved. It can become especially challenging when one spouse is not cooperating. It can feel like divorce is a never-ending battle you are fighting alone, especially if your spouse is attempting to delay or halt the proceedings by refusing to respond to the petition. A board-certified family lawyer can assist those who are struggling with an unresponsive spouse during a divorce case.

At The Dorie A. Rogers, APC, our legal team understands how a divorce can negatively impact everyone involved, even if the divorce is the right choice for your family. We aim to handle all divorce cases with the proper caution and care required to get the outcome you deserve and are dedicated to providing the highest-quality family law representation for those in our community.

Contact our legal team today for assistance if you are considering or have decided to divorce your spouse.