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Family Law Research Guide: Default Divorce Decrees

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My spouse did not respond to service of process. Can I get a default decree of dissolution of marriage?

In most cases there are two separate procedures involved in obtaining a dissolution decree by default. First, one must get an entry of default, wait for 10 days notice to pass, and if no answer is received schedule a default hearing. Once an entry of default has been made the petitioner requests a hearing, and the default decree should be issued. Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure 44.

The Supreme Court of Arizona has more information at www.lawhelp.org/documents/92691divorceinAZ_FAQ.html?stateabbrev=/AZ/#default on obtaining a default divorce.

Special restrictions will apply if the party being defaulted is a member of the military. The Soliders' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act. 50 U.S.C.A. App. §521. In such a case, the party seeking the default should contact an attorney.

What if I just found out that my spouse has a default hearing scheduled, and I didn't know about it?

Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure 44(C) authorizes a court for good cause to set aside a default before entry of the default decree. Good cause refers to a substantial reason amounting in law to a legal excuse for failing to perform a required act.

What if I just found out that my spouse had a default decree of dissolution of marriage entered against me?

After entry of the decree the court may vacate its judgment pursuant to Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure 85(C). The court may grant relief for mistake, inadvertence, surprise, excusable neglect, newly discovered evidence, fraud, and other reasons justifying relief.

 

Last revised:  4 November 2008

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