What happens if I don’t respond to the divorce/summons?

I live in California and I received a petition for
divorce in the mail. We have no kids, properties
or anything financial to split We’ve been
separated for 4 yrs
Thanks you

Asked on June 3, 2016 under Family Law, California


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

In such a situation, the petitioning spouse (i.e. the one filing for divorce) can be granted a "divorce by default". The way it works is, so long as a valid summons and complaint has been filed with the court and the respondent (i.e. the non-filing spouse) has been properly served, the petitioner is entitled to a divorce if the respondent fails to file an answer within the set time period (typically 30-60 days). After that, they will be considered to have "defaulted". Consequently, the petitioner can then file the final paperwork and appear in court; the judge will rule based solely on the petitioner's testimony. A divorce is then granted on the terms requested. For more information, here is a link to a site that you may find to be of help:

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