California Divorce | True Default vs. Default Divorce With Agreement

There is still some confusion on the best way to prepare your California divorce.  We will discuss the pro’s and con’s of the “True Default” vs. “Default With Agreement” divorce cases when filing your Amicable California Divorce.

If you are going through an amicable divorce in California, there may be a good reason to not file a Response to your California Divorce .

What Happens If You Don’t Respond To Divorce Summons & Petition?

First, lets discuss what happens when you don’t respond in a California Divorce.  Per the summons, it says you have 30 days to respond after being served the divorce papers.  It further states that if you do not respond, the Court and the other party can make decision about the divorce without you.

But What If You Are In Agreement?

But what if you are working on an amicable divorce and you are mostly in agreement.  Is there any reason you need to file a Response which will cause you to have to pay the Response fee and double the cost of your divorce?

We say that if you are working on an amicable divorce in California you do not need to file a Response and can choose to do either a “True Default” or “Default With Agreement” style divorce.

What Is A True Default Divorce?

A True Default divorce is where one party files and served the other.  Then the other party does absolutely nothing.  They don’t respond and they don’t participate at all.  There are pro’s and Con’s to this.

Pro’s to True Default Divorce:

  1. Useful when the other party does not respond
  2. Easy way to conclude case if no property, no kids, and short term marriage.
  3. Can use “strategic default” meaning we purposely default the other party even if they planned to cooperate.

Con’s To True Default Divorce:

  1. Community property must be evenly divided (even is it is an unfair division)
  2. Must file property declaration which become public record
  3. Defaults are scrutinized by the Court
  4. May require a default hearing (you might have to go to court)

What Is A Default With Agreement Case?

A default with agreement divorce cased is still a default.  It is different than the True Default in that the other party is going to participate. They are not going to Respond, but they are going to do all the paperwork (as if they Responded) and enter into a written agreement with you.

Pro’s To Default With Agreement Case:

  1. Easy to get approved because Court knows both parties were involved.
  2. No public record of property.
  3. No filing free necessary from Respondent.
  4. You will enter into a written agreement.
  5. Not necessary to have equal division of property.

Which Way Should You Go?

Each divorce case is different, but I would say if you can get your spouse to enter into a written agreement, it is better.  If you have children or property, you may want to try for the default with agreement and use the True Default as a last resort.  Why not, if it does not cost anymore to do it.

The true default might be better if you know your spouse will not be involved and not sign anything.  You can have them served and them they are no longer needed.

If you don’t have any property, no children and a short term marriage, you may choose to file the true default from the get-go.

Again, your specific circumstances will dictate the best way to go.

If you have any questions about the California divorce process, please give us a call.  We specialize in California divorce and can help you determine if filing a True Default or a Default With Agreement might be the best way to go. We serve all of California.