What Happens if You Default on Divorce in Minnesota?

On Behalf of | Apr 18, 2023 | Family Law

Divorce is never an easy time. Some couples might find it a relief to know that the relationship is finally over and they can get started on moving on. However, others refuse to let love die. Yet once you are served with a divorce petition, you can’t just ignore it and hope that it will go away. If you ignore your divorce papers, eventually they will default and you likely will not be okay with the outcome.

In Minnesota, once a divorce petition has been served, you have a certain amount of time to address the issue before it defaults. Once a divorce has defaulted, the spouse who filed for divorce will get everything they asked for because they other party did not contest any of it. While this often makes for a quick and less messy divorce, it does mean your now ex-spouse can take everything from you because you chose to do nothing.

How Long Does it Take a Divorce to Default

In Minnesota, once your spouse has filed for divorce and served you the papers, you will then have 30 days to answer the included summons. If you fail to do so in 30 days, your spouse can then press on with their default divorce claim to the courts.

In order to make sure your spouse does not take everything from you, you have to submit a legal document stating whether you agree or disagree with your spouse’s demands. This will also give you a chance to claim what you want from the divorce in terms of custody or division of the marital property. If you do not submit it, you may not have a claim on any of it afterwards.

Property Division and Child Custody in Default Divorce

After a divorce has enter the default stage, all your ex-spouse needs to do is submit the Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law legal brief that says they served you with divorce papers and your did nothing. In cases where there are no children involved, your ex-spouse need not even appear before the court to submit this brief. However, they will need to attend a hearing if child custody is needed. Even in this case, most likely the judge will grant them everything they ask.

On occasion when you have a large amount of assets, the judge may approve the divorce, but save the property division for another hearing. If you have still failed to answer, then that hearing will likely grant your ex-spouse everything they were seeking in the initial divorce filing.

Defending Against Default Divorce

We have said it before, and we will say it again. Ignoring a divorce does not make it go away. Unless you had a valid reason for not answering the divorce petition like you were incapacitated or the papers were never delivered, a default divorce is very hard to defend against. This is why you should contact your lawyer as soon as a divorce petition is served and answer it within a timely manner. This will assure that your attorney can work with you to protect your fair share of the marital property and can work with you so that you can still retain at least some custody of your children.

If you have been served with a divorce petition in Minnesota or accidentally let it default, contact us today. The Law Office of Villaume & Schiek are skilled divorce attorneys and there may still be a chance that we can help you in case of a default divorce. Let us make sure that your ex-spouse doesn’t take everything from your just because you were being bitter about the end of your marriage.

Disclaimer: The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individualsituation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.