What Happens If You Don’t Respond to Divorce Papers

by | Aug 14, 2019 | Divorce, Family Law Friday | 0 comments

What happens if you’re served divorce papers in Utah and you do nothing?

We know divorce is stressful.  And sometimes you want to stick your head in the sand and hope it all just goes away.  So what happens if you’re served divorce papers in the state of Utah, and you don’t respond?

First, divorce papers must be personally served on you by an independent third party.  Which means someone, not your spouse, must personally deliver and place the the divorce petition in your hands.  It doesn’t count if your spouse hands papers to you and says “sign here”.  That’s not proper service and you are not required to respond.

But if you’ve actually been served a Petition for Divorce by a third party, you then have 21 days from the date of service to respond.  There will be a Summons attached to the Petition that clearly outlines this timeline.

If you do nothing for these 21 days, and do not respond, the other party (your spouse) then has the option to pursue a Default Judgment against you.  This means they can file papers with the court that requests a default against you that will be consistent with the terms laid out in the Petition for Divorce that was served on you.

A divorce petition is basically a wish list of what one party thinks the outcome of their Utah divorce should be. So ultimately, if you don’t respond timely, the terms in the Petition will be what defines your final Decree of Divorce.  The Decree is a final order from the Court which you will be legally required to follow.

In short, while divorce proceedings can feel overwhelming, it’s not something to take lightly.  You need to be informed, protect yourself and make sure you are taking appropriate, timely action.

Disclaimer – This video is intended for informational purposes only.  Nothing in this video is to be considered as either creating an attorney-client relationship between the viewer and JR Law Group or as rendering of legal advice for any specific matter. Viewers are responsible for obtaining such advice from their own legal counsel. No viewer should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information contained in the video or on JR Law Group’s Website without seeking appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue.

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