CanI be forced to divorce in a no-fault case?

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CanI be forced to divorce in a no-fault case?

My wife filed for no fault divorce. I refuse to sign/acknowledge service form. We are trying to work it out.

Asked on October 2, 2010 under Family Law, Georgia

Answers:

Rob MacKenna / The MacKenna Law Firm

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

In Georgia, you cannot get a divorce strictly by default.  Even after the 30 days to respond have passed, you may still file a response any time before the final hearing.  However, failure to file a response within 30 days does constitute a waiver to further notices.  If the responding party (the spouse who did not file the demand for divorce) fails to appear at a final hearing, the judge will divide the property division based on equitable principles, but it's not a good idea to let that happen without providing evidence on your own behalf.

If the case hasn't been dismissed (and by that, I mean you haven't seen a filed and stamped copy of a dismissal with your own eyes), you should contact an attorney immediately.

 

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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If you don't answer (ie respond to) the divorce summons, your wife can obtain what is called a "divorce by default". As long as a valid  summons and complaint has been filed with the court and you have been properly served (see below), she is entitled to one if you fail to file a answer to the action within your state's time requirements (typically 30/60 days).  After that period, you will be deemed to have "defaulted". Accordingly, she can then file her final paperwork and appear before the judge, who will make their ruling solely on her written/oral testimony. A divorce is then granted generally on the terms that are requested.

Note:  Mere refusal of personal service may not protect you; she may use substitute service.

At this point, I strongly suggest that you speak with a divorce attorney in your area ASAP; the legal time clock may well be running.


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