How to finish your divorce if your spouse didn't respond

Finish your divorce by asking for a default

If your spouse doesn’t file a response within 30 days of being served, you can ask the court for a default. This means asking the court to decide the case without your spouse’s input.

In a divorce by default, the court will make decisions based on the information you file and what the law says.

A default doesn’t mean your divorce happens right away

To finish the divorce, you must:

  • Share your finances with your spouse (if you haven’t already)

  • Ask the court for a default

  • Turn in final paperwork (the final orders in your divorce called the judgment)

You can ask the court for a default at the same time as when you turn in your final paperwork. A judge will review the paperwork. If everything is complete, a judge will sign the final papers. The paperwork will say the date that your marriage legally ends or ended.

If you ask the court for a default before you turn in your final paperwork, the court will review your request and complete the bottom of form FL-165. The copy that you receive from the court will either include the date that the default was entered or let you know why the default was not entered.

Even if you ask for a default, you can still make an agreement with your spouse. If your agreement is written and signed, you can ask the judge to make your agreement part of your final orders in your divorce (called the judgment). This is called a default with agreement.


What's next?

If you haven't already, you must shared your financial information with your spouse.


If you have shared your financial information, you ask the court for a default and prepare your final paperwork to finalize your divorce.

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