What To Do About Family Law Default Decisions

If you’ve been served with custody or divorce papers, waiting to respond to those documents is the worst thing you can do. It’s not uncommon for mothers or fathers to get these papers in the mail or have a process server come to their house and not take the documents that have been given to you seriously. You might be thinking that your ex will change their mind or is just warning you or a number of other conclusions. After all, this is the mother or father of your children, you made a life together. Regardless of your predispositions about what is happening, being prepared and properly addressing the issue is what needs to be focused on.

Defaulting: When a judge makes a default decision this means that one of the involved parties did not show up to court on a specified date, and the judge ruled in favor of the person who did show up. You don’t want this to happen to you. Being informed is half the battle. If you’re on good terms with your ex, it’s easier to stay informed, or going to court might not be an issue if you’re communicating well. However, this isn’t a perfect world. There are plenty of stories from parents out there that say they had no idea they had a court date coming up or they weren’t served with any papers, you don’t want this to happen to you.  Stay on top of things. This is going to take some effort on your part. You can avoid not being aware of a court date by staying in contact with your ex and your kids. The parents who are served surprise documents are generally the ones that are alienated from their ex or don’t communicate at all. Everything can be solved by simply talking it out rationally.

Preparing A Response: Once you’ve been served, you need to respond to these papers as quickly as possible; waiting doesn’t do you any good. Your first impulse might be to contact an attorney. This can be an expensive way to go. It is possible to get this issue resolved by representing yourself. You don’t need an attorney to go through family court. Contacting a paralegal or a parent advocate group that can prepare these documents for you can be another route to take. Weigh your options before you jump into anything and make sure that whatever direction you do take will produce the best outcome for your kids.

What goes into your response is what the judge is going to base his decision on. Having a well thought out argument regarding where your kids should be living or which parent should be the primary decision maker etc. is what you need to focus on. It needs to make sense to the judge and show that you’re trying to do what’s best for the children because his judgment will reflect that as well. If you have any blemishes on your record or are somewhat financially unstable, now might be a good time to put your affairs in order and sort things out before you step in the court room. There are plenty of parental resources out there for you to use. Choosing the right person to represent you or prepare your response matters. Do your research before you start paying someone to help you out with this.


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Posted in Family, Family Court
3 comments on “What To Do About Family Law Default Decisions
  1. brendayoder says:

    This is so helpful and useful! Thank you for your advocacy and ministry!

  2. writingthebody says:

    Yes this is clear and sensible. I have not had to do this, and I just cannot understand how parents let their own stuff get in the way of what is best for their children. I would stand aside if it came to it, even if very sorrowfully. But then my partner would do the same, well I think so. I am sure that I would not be cut off – not for my sake but for my child’s sake. Even if things did fall apart. But I have so many friends who get so angry that I am almost repelled by their animosity. Sad to say it is often the men (I am one) who react in the most ridiculous ways. Not always though.

    Anyway, keep it up. Thank you for liking a post I did wondering what happened to a blogger, who called herself Sassy. I do not know her personally. She had children, and a partner. I hope they are all ok.

    • Keep leading with your example of self-control, that character trait is a vital pillar in any relationship. Thank for this comment. Please refer any family or friends who may require this help. aboutthechildren.org

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