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Can you just ignore a divorce petition?

On Behalf of | Jan 2, 2020 | divorce

Your spouse serves you with divorce papers. You want nothing to do with getting a divorce. This isn’t the future you chose. You consider just ignoring the paperwork entirely. Can you do so?

You certainly can, but do not make the mistake of believing that will prevent the divorce. It does no such thing. Remember, both of you have to agree to tie the knot, but only one of you has to want a divorce.

If you do ignore the papers, not answering the petition at all, the court typically takes that as your way of agreeing to everything that is in that petition. A default judgment will be entered reflecting it. The divorce proceeds as if you had come to court and agreed to it.

For you, this can mean you lose a significant chance to frame the divorce the way you want. Your spouse may have included terms about things like spousal support, property division and child custody. Those terms may not at all reflect what you want out of the divorce. If you ignore the petition, though, the court determines that you agree to those terms, and you can be stuck with them forever.

It’s far better to respond properly to the petition, even if you did not want a divorce. You can’t prevent it. What you can do is work to get the outcome that you believe is fair.

So, when you get that paperwork, don’t ignore it. Don’t hope your spouse gives up on the idea. Instead, take the time to look into all of your legal options.