There are very few defenses to a claim for absolute divorce – so if you have been separated for at least one year and have properly served your spouse with the complaint for divorce, you are pretty much guaranteed that you will get a divorce – even if your spouse doesn’t want it. Often times, one spouse may just refuse to answer the complaint, somehow believing that it will just “go away”. This is a big mistake for several reasons:
- Once you have waited thirty days after your spouse was served, if your spouse doesn’t respond you can ask the clerk to enter a default and then proceed to get a default judgment entered by the judge.
- Regardless of whether you are the party that filed the complaint or the party that received the complaint, if there is the potential for an alimony claim or you have property to divide, those issues must be pending before the court when the divorce is entered or they are waived for all parties.
The bottom line is that there are many issues that can come up in a divorce. Make sure you have thoroughly explored all potential marital claims before you ask for the final divorce and make sure everything has been presented to the court. On the other hand, if you have been served divorce paperwork, you must take it seriously and respond promptly within 30 days. If you don’t know how to respond, then you should seek the advice of an attorney.