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San Diego, CA 92101

Phone: 619.234.6123

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Divorce is a complex process that can vary greatly in how it unfolds, especially when one partner is unresponsive. In San Diego, as in the rest of California, the law offers a pathway to resolution even when a spouse fails to engage in the divorce proceedings. At JWB Family Law, we understand the intricacies of such situations and are here to guide you through navigating divorce when your spouse won’t respond.

Understanding Default and Uncontested Divorce

It’s important to distinguish between a default divorce and an uncontested divorce. An uncontested divorce occurs when both parties amicably agree on all matters, including property division and child custody, leading to a straightforward legal process. Conversely, a default divorce comes into play when one spouse does not respond to divorce filings.

The Nuances of Default Divorce

While some may attempt to navigate a default divorce with an informal agreement, especially regarding property division, this doesn’t constitute a true default divorce. In these instances, the court might approve a petition for divorce based on the agreement, but this process slightly deviates from the standard default divorce procedure.

The Procedure for a True Default Divorce

A true default divorce is initiated when one spouse serves the other with divorce papers and receives no response within 30 days. This lack of response could be due to various reasons, from opposition to the divorce to inability to locate the other party. In true default divorces, California’s community property laws play a crucial role, generally necessitating an equitable division of assets.

To pursue a true default divorce, you must demonstrate that you’ve met all legal requirements, including serving the divorce petition and awaiting the requisite response period without any action from your spouse. Additionally, certain conditions, such as ensuring your spouse is not on active military duty, must be verified.

Final Steps and Contesting a Default Divorce 

Finalizing a default divorce involves submitting Form FL-165 to the court. However, it’s worth noting that an unresponsive spouse can later contest the default decision if they have a valid reason for their initial non-response.

Child Custody and Support Considerations

Even if a spouse does not respond to divorce proceedings, decisions regarding child custody and support are not left entirely to the other parent. The court will always prioritize the “best interests of the child,” potentially overriding any parental agreement that doesn’t align with this standard.

Why You Need a San Diego Family Law Expert

Dealing with an uncooperative spouse during a divorce can complicate matters significantly. Hidden issues often emerge, impacting the divorce outcome. At JWB Family Law in San Diego, our expertise in California family law positions us to handle such complexities adeptly, ensuring your rights are protected.

If you’re facing divorce challenges, including an unresponsive spouse, having a knowledgeable legal team is crucial. Contact JWB Family Law at 619-776-3879 for comprehensive support and guidance through your divorce proceedings, ensuring your interests are safeguarded every step of the way.

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