People that decide to end their marriage tend to disagree as to how issues like child custody, property division, and spousal support should be resolved. In such instances, they will typically rely on the courts to resolve their disputes. In some cases, though, a party will neglect to participate in divorce proceedings, effectively waiving their right to offer evidence or arguments in their favor. The failure to act can have devastating consequences, as the court may rule for the other party by default. Default divorces can permanently impact a party’s rights and obligations, and it is smart for anyone served with divorce papers to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. The skilled Dallas divorce attorneys of McClure Law Group understand the importance of taking swift and aggressive action in divorce matters, and, if you hire us, we will advocate tirelessly on your behalf.Default Divorce in Texas
In Texas, a party that has been served with a petition for divorce must file a written answer within a certain timeframe; otherwise, the court may issue a default judgment against them. Specifically, the clock begins to run when they are served with the divorce petition, and if they do not respond by 10 am on the first Monday that falls after the twentieth day after service, the court can issue a default divorce.
Notably, however, Texas law dictates that courts cannot issue a final divorce decree until sixty days have passed since the moving party filed the petition for divorce. In other words, even if the responding party does not file an answer, the court cannot grant a default divorce until after the sixty-day waiting period. Additionally, even if the allotted time for the responding party to file an answer has passed, if they file a response before the expiration of the sixty days, the court can decline to issue a default judgment.
After both the twenty-plus day and sixty-day waiting periods have expired, the party that filed the divorce petition can ask the court for a default divorce. They must provide the court with proof that a sheriff, private process server, or constable successfully served their spouse with the petition for divorce and show that they filed a Return of Service form indicating when and where the spouse was served with the clerk’s office at least ten days prior to asking for the default. Finally, they must submit a Military Status Declaration and Certificate of the Responding Party’s Last Known Address.
Essentially, by granting a default divorce, the court rules in favor of the party that filed the divorce petition, as long as what they are seeking is reasonable and they have testimony or other evidence to support it. The court should require the moving party to offer evidence regarding specific issues in their case, like the value of community assets, child support, and wage withholding information, and may ask the moving party questions. If the court finds that the moving party has offered the required documents and evidence, it will generally issue a final divorce decree in favor of the moving party. The moving party must then file the divorce decree and any other orders signed by the court.Meet with a Trusted Dallas Attorney
Parties have the right to offer the courts arguments and evidence in their favor in divorce proceedings, but if they decline to respond to a divorce action, they waive that right, and the court may issue a default divorce in favor of their former spouse. If you intend to seek a divorce or were served with legal papers instituting dissolution proceedings, you should meet with an attorney to discuss your rights. The trusted Dallas attorneys of McClure Law Group can assess the facts of your case and advise you as to the best manner to proceed in pursuit of your desired outcome. Our main office is located in Dallas, and we are available to meet clients by appointment at our Collin-County office in Plano. We frequently represent parties in divorce actions in Dallas, McKinney, Rockwall, Fort Worth, Richardson, Frisco, Garland, and Irving. We also represent people in family-law cases in cities in Dallas, Collin, Tarrant, Grayson, and Denton Counties. You can contact us by calling us at 214.692.8200 or using our form online to set up a confidential consultation.