“My Ex Didn’t Respond To My Divorce Petition: What Next?”

In California, after normal service of a Petition and Summons, an opposing party has thirty (30) days to file a Response. (There are slightly different rules for situations where someone is sub-served at their address, but those cases are less common.) If a Response is not filed, your case will not automatically progress to judgment and dissolution of the marriage. You need to take the following steps:

1. Make sure you have served a Preliminary Declaration of Disclosure on the other party and filed the proof of service form with the court.

2. File a default packet that includes a request for entry of default, an income and expense declaration, and your proposed judgment. It is VERY important that your judgment match what you filed in your petition.

3. If you wish to ask for orders that you did NOT ask for in your petition, you will need to file and serve and Amended Petition. If you know what your assets are and what your requested visitation orders are if you have children, you should detail the division that you want in your initial Petition. This puts the other party on notice of what you are asking for and will allow you take obtain a judgment on those terms if your ex does not respond.

One of the most common problems I see is that people leave items off their initial Petition, and then can’t get their judgment through because they added the missing items. There is a form (FL-160) that you can fill out an attach to your Petition which shows a property division, and this is recommended any time you have limited property to split up and you think there is a possibility your ex will not respond to the Petition.

DISCLAIMER: All legal principles quoted are valid as of the date of writing in the State of California. However, you should NEVER base your actions on a legal article, blog, or internet story, as facts in real life are complicated. You should have your case evaluated by an attorney experienced in the area of law needed for your case. In addition, there are often exceptions and potential changes to results that occur due to facts that you may think are trivial or unimportant. This article should not be taken in any way as legal advice on your specific legal matter.

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