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How Can I Get a Default Judgment in a Texas Divorce?

 Posted on May 26, 2024 in Divorce

Collin County, TX default divorce lawyerAnyone who wants to get divorced in Texas must follow a strict legal process. After contacting a divorce attorney, the first step of that process is filing for divorce. This means that the petitioner — the spouse filing for divorce — fills out and signs a Petition for Divorce, which is submitted to the court clerk. A copy of that petition is served to the other spouse, called the respondent.

The respondent is usually required to respond to the petition by 10 AM on the first Monday after 20 days have passed. If he or she fails to meet that deadline, the petitioner may get a default judgment from the court.

This article will discuss what a default judgment is and what happens if a default judgment is granted.

What Is a Default Judgment?

A default judgment means that the court will proceed with the divorce case without the respondent. If there is no respondent, there is no opposition. Therefore, the judge is likely to grant the wishes of the petitioner in many of the issues that come up during divorce, such as:

  • Child custody, also known as possession in Texas

  • Spousal support, or alimony

  • Child support

  • Division of marital assets

The court will only grant the petitioner’s requests within reason, however. A request for $50,000 in monthly alimony payments, for instance, will not be granted by a judge.

When Is the Divorce Final?

Even if you receive a default judgment, that does not mean your divorce is final. Under Texas law, there is a mandatory waiting time of 60 days after the original filing until a divorce can be finalized. This means that the quickest divorce possible is 61 days. During that time period, the respondent can still file a response with the court.

What Happens if the Respondent Does Not Comply?

Once the divorce is final, that means that all the court’s decisions on child custody, spousal support, child support, asset division, and any other issues are legally binding for both spouses. If the respondent does not comply with the orders, then he or she can be placed in contempt of court, which means he or she is disobeying and disrespecting the judge. Once a judge has placed the respondent in contempt, the respondent can be arrested and brought before the judge to explain his or her non-compliance and face serious penalties.

Contact a Collin County, TX Divorce Attorney

Even if you win a default judgment, it does not mean you win the case. The divorce still needs to be finalized and the court still needs to make some decisions. The best way to make sure these decisions swing in your favor is to hire the right Denton County, Texas divorce lawyer.

If you are considering getting divorced, bring your case to Pfister Family Law. We will aggressively defend your interests whether or not you receive a default judgment. No matter where you are in the divorce process, we will take you the rest of the way. Call 972-954-6455 for a consultation today.

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