What if a Spouse Doesn’t Respond to a Divorce Petition

When a person files for divorce, the other spouse is served with the court papers by a qualified process server. The spouse who receives the divorce papers has a limited period of time in which to respond to the petition for divorce. The responding spouse must provide an answer to the court, providing required information and appropriate legal paperwork.

If one spouse doesn’t respond to a divorce petition, this does not mean that the dissolution of marriage will not go forward. However, a failure by the served spouse to respond to the paperwork can slow down the divorce process, make it more complicated to end the marriage, and leave the non-responding spouse without a say in how marital assets and custody are divided. Failing to respond to a divorce petition is a big mistake and everyone who receives papers from a process server should be sure to respond appropriately and on-time. An experienced Las Vegas, NV divorce lawyer at Pintar Albiston LLP can provide assistance responding to the divorce, so be sure to contact an attorney as soon as possible if you are served.

What Happens When A Spouse Doesn’t Respond to a Divorce Petition

When a spouse doesn’t respond to a divorce petition, the court can proceed with a divorce without his or her response. Typically, the person who filed for divorce will need to submit additional paperwork to the court including a request for a default divorce. The spouse seeking to move forward with ending the marriage will need to show the court that he or she filed the paperwork and that the other spouse was properly served with the divorce papers.  Provided that the court believes the other spouse has had notice of the legal action and opportunity to respond, the court can move forward and dissolve the marriage. When this occurs, the court will grant the divorce based on terms outlined in the initial petition for divorce.  This does not mean that the court will simply give the filing spouse all of the marital property; however, the non-responsive spouse will lose the opportunity to go to court and argue for his or her preferred division of assets and support orders.

In some cases, one of the two spouses will try to be non-responsive in order to slow down the process of ending the marriage. For example, a husband or a wife who does not want the divorce to go through may be late in submitting paperwork or requested documents to the court.  This delay tactics can lead to legal consequences. It may be possible for the spouse who is willfully late in responding to be held in contempt of court.

The process of divorce can be complicated even in the best of circumstances, but becomes more difficult when a spouse doesn’t respond to a divorce petition. An attorney can help those who are served to respond in an appropriate way to protect their legal interests and can assist those who are filing for divorce with a non-responsive spouse. Call today to schedule a consultation with a Las Vegas divorce lawyer at Pintar Albiston LLP to learn more about how an attorney can help you end your marriage.