When a spouse is uncooperative and refuses to participate in the divorce process, a legal tool called a default judgment divorce may help end a marriage.
Sometimes a spouse is unwilling to participate in the divorce process. Fortunately, Colorado doesn’t require the approval of both spouses to obtain a divorce. Our state enjoys the benefit of a no-fault judgment, meaning it isn’t necessary to prove the guilt of one party to obtain a divorce.
The process of getting a default judgment can be straight forward. With a few simple steps, the courts will grant a dissolution of marriage (what Colorado calls a divorce) within a couple of months.
First, a petition is served on the other spouse. If property or children are involved, the act of filing for a default judgment may be enough of a threat to get the other party to participate in the proceedings.
A process server personally delivers the petition. The respondent has 20 days to respond to the petition. If this isn’t enough time, he or she may be able to request an extension.
The respondent has three options: agree with the terms in the petition, disagree with the terms of the dissolution of marriage petition and contest the divorce, or simply do nothing.
If the spouse receiving the petition chooses not to act, then they basically give up their rights to a trial. This may include giving up their marital property and child custody rights as well.
The respondent has the right to attend the trial and dispute the terms of the dissolution of marriage. When a case involves children, Colorado courts try to reach a fair arrangement in the best interests of the children. In fact, even if the defaulting spouse is in contempt or if they missed the court’s deadlines, they may still be eligible to participate and give testimony on their behalf. Their participation though at this point may come with severe restrictions.
If a spouse is unreachable or can’t be found, divorce by publication may be the best option to end the marriage. This option isn’t as easy as the default judgment divorce because the courts make every attempt to give both parties the ability to participate in the divorce proceedings.
The petitioner (the person who initiates the proceedings) must make a good faith effort to notify their spouse. You may post a notice of the dissolution of marriage in a newspaper or by mail notification.
After the 90 days waiting period a person filing for divorce is eligible for the dissolution of marriage.
Military personnel is exempt from a default judgment or any other divorce actions when serving overseas. This applies to both the service member serving overseas and their spouse located back home.
Fortunately, ending a marriage with an unresponsive spouse in Colorado is extremely easy. If you are considering a divorce, an experienced divorce attorney at Modern Family Law we can help. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation.
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