Divorce Procedure Default
Divorce and the Duty to Respond
If you are served with a divorce complaint, you have a duty to respond. Failing to respond can lead to a default judgment by the court, leaving you without a voice on matters such as custody and visitation of your children as well as marital property division and alimony payments.
Protect your rights. If you receive divorce papers, seek help right away from an experienced men's rights lawyer at Shaw Law Group, PLC in Grand Rapids. Don't wait to get good advice. Contact us immediately for help protecting your rights and interests in the divorce process.
Divorce Complaint and Default
Divorce is a serious business. When your wife pursues divorce through the courts, she is filing a lawsuit, or complaint, against you. As committed men's rights advocates, we urge you to take action immediately.
Don't get lulled into believing everything will be fair. All too often we hear a sad story where someone was told things would be fair only to find out that this was not the case when the final Judgment was presented to the court for entry. This all can be prevented by simply seeking competent counsel and knowing your rights.
Even when you are planning to pursue an uncontested divorce or to work out the details of the divorce with your wife, you must protect yourself. If you don't file an answer in time, your wife can and many times will seek a default against you whereby you will loose standing in the case, you will have no ability to speak in court on your own behalf and the court will enter a judgment against you that awards your wife with everything she requests.
To avoid this nightmare you should seek counsel immediately and answer the complaint against you without delay. It is vital that you respond to all allegations against you and that you do so as quickly as possible. We will review all paperwork with you and address any concerns that may compromise your interests. We will help you answer the divorce complaint and file a counterclaim that must be answered by your spouse.
By law, every divorce in Michigan is subject to a waiting period. If there are minor children involved, the statutory waiting period is 6 months; if there are no children, the statutory period is 60 days. Because of these waiting periods, many men are lulled into a false sense of security. The consequences of not responding to a divorce complaint may not be immediately apparent, as nothing will happen with the divorce proceedings during this time.
However it is vital that you understand, if you are personally served with a complaint for divorce you only have 21 days to respond to the complaint; otherwise a default can and most likely will be filed against you. If you are out of state or the complaint was served through the mail you may have an additional 7 days to respond. Regardless of the situation, you need to seek the help of a professional immediately so you know the correct waiting period and you can assert your rights properly. Failure to act could be catastrophic in your case.
Motions for Temporary Orders
Divorce papers may include a number of different documents. In addition to the complaint, there may be a motion requesting child custody, temporary spousal support or some other relief. The divorce paperwork may include allegations of domestic violence or requests that the court freeze shared bank accounts. If you receive a motion for temporary relief along with the complaint for divorce you must respond to that motion immediately and be prepared to appear in court at the date and time provide to argue your facts to the Judge. Failure to respond or appear at the hearing will result in your spouse receiving all the relief that she is seeking and an order against you. You need a professional who is experienced in litigation, who can gather your details and forge a proper defense against any motions that are filed with the court. The attorney's at Shaw Law Group, PLC will explain everything to you and will know how to handle your case effectively.
Ex Parte Orders
Sometimes your wife's attorney has filed an emergency ex parte motion and the court has granted an ex parte order in the matter that may award her a number of things including custody, child support, spousal support or exclusive use of the marital home. These are rare orders but do occur depending on the circumstances. If this is your situation you have 14 days to file an objection from the time you receive the ex parte order. It is essential that you seek a qualified and experienced attorney to assist you, to devise a proper objection with the court and to have a hearing schedule as soon as possible. If you fail to file an objection within the 14 day period the ex parte order will be adopted by the court and you will loose your ability to challenge that order. Many times these emergency ex parte orders can significantly color the case against you and it is for this reason that they must always be challenged.
Safeguard Your Rights and Interests
When you fail to respond to a divorce complaint, you jeopardize your rights from the start. If the court enters a default judgment, you will have no right to be heard in the courtroom. By not responding, you are surrendering the right to make your case. However, the truth is that it is never too late to fight for fairness in a divorce proceeding and there are steps we can take to help you should you find yourself in default.
Many times we can correct the problem, but again it is imperative that you seek counsel as quickly as possible. Following the entry of a default, we can request that the court set aside that order. Legally, we will have to demonstrate to the court that you had "good cause" for failing to respond and that you have a "meritorious defense"; both of these arguments are very complex and depend on your individual set of circumstances but they can be won with the right attorney. The attorney's at Shaw Law Group, PLC understand these complexities and can help you prevail. However, to truly protect your interests, it is always best to avoid the entry of a default judgment entirely. This can be done by being smart and seeking the assistance of an experienced attorney.
Call Us for Help Today: 616-827-ADAM (2236)
Don't wait until the last minute. The clock starts ticking the moment you receive divorce papers. If you face a divorce complaint, the ball is in your court.