Consider the prospect of a basketball game, and you're taking the ball
out. You have a particular time limit to do that, and if you go beyond
it, it's considered a foul. You have to give up the ball. There are
rules in that kind of game, and make no mistake: the same kind of rules
apply when it comes to divorce law. Hence, if you default on your
divorce proceedings – with something as simple as missing a deadline –
you could lose out on a lot of options, privileges, and rights regarding
Default Judgments & the Presumption of Agreement
Take this case, for example:
Clementi vs. Clementi. This is a situation where a wife had petitioned the court for sole ownership
of the marital home, a mortgage-free property estimated at a value of
$200K. She went through the motions as one should with legal proceedings,
following all the rules, consulting with her attorney (most likely) and
ensuring all documentation was filed. Here's where we go south with
the story, and problems occur. The husband in the case apparently failed
to respond to the divorce complaint, and it resulted in a default judgment.
In many cases, a fail to respond could be considered a silent form of
consent. If he/she doesn't say anything, he/she is presumed to be
This easily could apply to divorce cases
as a whole, but don't be fooled. The ramifications of defaulting don't necessarily
apply to an entire case, most specifically something regarding claims
or requests of
property distribution outside the realm of equitable guidelines. In this case, the court didn't
consider the husband's failure to respond as an outright agreement
with what she was asking. The court still held jurisdiction over how to
properly distribute ownership and assets between both parties regardless
of her request.
In other words, default judgments only apply to that which the court asks
for, not any particular party. Keep that in mind when considering certain
requests or claims you'd ask a judge to evaluate. As always, consult
with your attorney.
Contact Moskowitz Law Group, LLC if you are considering a divorce in Bergen County. Our New Jersey divorce
lawyers would be happy to help.