What is A Default Judgment with Agreement in California Divorces?

By Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation attorneys; California Divorce MediatorsThere are several cases wherein a spouse has filed a petition for a divorce, but the other partner has not officially filed for a response to the petition yet, or defaulted. In addition to this, the two divorcing parties have created a written agreement which incorporates well defined instructions for the actual legal separation or divorce and other related issues such as division of property and debt, visitation and child support and custody. If the partner who has filed for a divorce does not receive any response from the other side within 30 days, the situation is termed as ‘default with agreement’. We are listing here a few steps to be followed by the petitioner to proceed with this situation.

Writing the agreement

The first and foremost step is to actually create an agreement in writing which clearly states the couple’s intent of getting separated or divorced. In addition to this, your agreement may also incorporate instructions for the division of your property and debt. Furthermore, you and your partner may agree upon whether either of you needs to pay for the support of the other partner. In case, there are any children involved, the couple can also reach an agreement regarding the custody, support and visitation of their kids. This written agreement is referred to as an MSA or marital settlement agreement and should be attested by a certified notary for legal validation.

Filling out the forms

It is the petitioner’s obligation to present the final forms in the court of law requesting the judge to announce a final verdict for their divorce or legal separation. In addition to this, you can also request the judge to announce the legal orders regarding other related issues such as division of your assets, custody, support or visitation. A petitioner cannot present the final forms in the court of law until 30 days have passed from the date of presenting the petition and summon to their spouse. 

Completing the required financial disclosure

Usually, both the petitioner and his partner are required to create and serve a ‘Declaration of disclosure’ as part of the requirements in a divorce case, known as the “Preliminary Declaration of Disclosure.”  A couple can waive the completion and service of a “Final Declaration of Disclosure” by stipulation at the end of the case.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation