Serving Clients in Knox, Blount, Anderson, Loudon, Sevier & Roane Counties

What Is a Default Judgment?

People often wonder how long a divorce can take, especially when the other side isn’t responsive. They wonder if they’ll have to wait and wait while their ex buries their head in the sand.

Thankfully, there is a mechanism to keep an unresponsive spouse from dragging things out by not responding. This is called the “Default Judgment” process. When someone is served with a Complaint for divorce, they have 30 days to file a document known as an Answer. If they do not, your attorney can file a Motion for Default Judgment.

This Motion explains to the Court that your ex was served more than 30 days ago and is not being responsive. It asks the Court to set your Motion for hearing and to enter an Order declaring you divorced then and there.

At this hearing, you will need two witnesses. One will need to testify why you are entitled to a divorce, and the other will need to testify that they know you and that you are a truthful person. Some courts will enter an order dividing your property, enter an order for custody, and make an alimony award on the spot. Others will set the case for a “Writ of Inquiry” where the Court determines what is a fair division of property, what custody arrangement is in the best interests of your children, and what sort of support you should receive. While this isn’t lightning fast, it gets the divorce accomplished in weeks rather than months, is very inexpensive, and does not reward your ex for dragging their feet.

If you need a divorce or would like to know more about the process, please give us a call today to set up a case assessment.