Articles Posted in Default Judgment

law-education-series-3-1467430 (1)During a typical divorce case, the parties are often required to provide testimony and other evidence through some form of discovery. Discovery enables the parties to obtain information about their separate and community assets and debts, among other vital information. As with most aspects of a divorce proceeding, California law governs the parties’ participation in discovery. Because evidence in a family law matter can play such an integral role in the outcome of the proceedings, it is important to understand how the discovery process works in California, and how it applies to your case. For help sorting through the intricacies of your divorce, you are encouraged to contact an experienced family lawyer from the local San Diego area.

A recent California court case illustrates how the use of discovery in a divorce proceeding can become quite tedious. Here, the parties were married for 13 years, were partners in a dental practice, and had no children. In 2013, husband filed for divorce. The couple amicably agreed that husband would buy out all of wife’s shares in the practice for $400,000. From this point forward, the proceedings took a negative turn. Husband’s counsel sought to engage in discovery with wife via her counsel, by sending interrogatories (questions) and a demand for the production of documents.

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mortgage-and-money-6-1237957.jpgWhen one spouse files a petition for divorce (or dissolution of marriage), the other spouse may respond in various ways. He or she may do nothing, which results in a true default, effectively accepting the terms of the petition. He or she may do nothing, but with a signed and notarized agreement spelling out the terms of the divorce. Or he or she may file a response, either accepting or contesting the other spouse’s terms. It is important to understand the ramifications of choosing one of these courses of action over another. Your decision will likely affect your legal and financial rights going forward. To protect yourself and your family, you are encouraged to speak with an experienced San Diego divorce attorney as soon as possible.

Be assured that many laws governing marital dissolution proceedings were enacted with the intention of ensuring that divorcing spouses are treated fairly throughout the process. One example of this is the requirement that parties are given proper notice of the divorce petition and the request for relief, as well as an opportunity to assert a response (with the opportunity to defend). Section 580 of the California Code fulfills these due process requirements in “default” cases. Proper notice and the opportunity to respond are extremely important in “default” cases, in which the person served with the petition fails to assert a response. The assumption (and purpose of the law) is that the person failed to respond with full awareness of the relief sought.
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