This can trigger what’s called a default. Now, the area of default in legal proceedings has a lot more information, a lot more cases, case law, decisions of other courts, courts of appeal, than I can cover in a very short, brief video.
In sort, it is very important that you respond. If you don’t respond to a petition for legal separation or a petition for dissolution, the court can take action in your absence. And I have seen that action taken.
Something important to remember – and this is all general information, never legal advice, because until we’ve signed a formal agreement, we’re not attorney-client. But something important to remember with a default is that you can’t get more relief at the default hearing than is actually requested in a petition.
So that’s one way a default can be overturned. However, it is quite possible that if your case goes to a default and you don’t participate, orders can be made that can be very hard to overcome later. So it is absolutely imperative that you do attend the default hearing or that you participate in the proceedings before they go to default.
The best-case scenario is that you issue a response within the required timeframe and get your response on file with the court. Filing fees with the court typically for a petition for dissolution are $341 for an initial filing, and if you’re the respondent, $270. This fee can be waived or deferred for people who don’t have the funds to pay it at the time.