Is someone in default of divorce if they do not respond? 1 Answers as of June 21, 2011

If a spouse left over a year ago and has not made any contact with the other spouse, does this hurt them when they try to go for maintenance? Here is the situation. Husband is 100% service connected disabled and on SSI. She is on SSI as well and does not work. They both became 100% disabled while married about 3 years ago. She now wants maintenance and certain bills paid, but has not provided any receipts or proof of what bills. She also lives out of state, as far as the husband knows. The divorce petition and financial affidavit have been filed and served as of June 13th. From my understanding, if she does not file a response within 30 days, since she is out of state, she will then be in default. Does that mean divorce will be granted sooner, and she will not be awarded anything, since she did not respond? And the only "assets" this couple has is debt. But a lot of the debt has dropped off the husband since he is 100% disabled Veteran. So far the only contact from wife has occurred after divorce was served, and it mostly has been threats but no physical proof of anything owed. What are the next steps to speed up this divorce? The divorce was filed in Colorado. The wife is in Pennsylvania, supposedly.

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John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
If the Wife fails to respond to the Petition and fails to participate in any of the scheduled proceedings, the Court can find that person in default and enter a decree of dissolution of marriage 90 days after the Wife was served. Generally, when there is a default a court will give the person who filed the case whatever he/she asks for; but, that depends partly on whether or not the court has personal jurisdiction over the defaulting party. When the defaulting party is not a resident of Colorado, the court may or may not have personal jurisdiction over that person. When the nonresident wants maintenance, but then fails to present that request to the Court there is no reason the Court would award maintenance. Just because Wife tells Husband what she wants isn't the same as telling the Court and presenting her arguments for maintenance. If the Husband wants the court to order the Wife to do something, it is crucial to know whether the court has jurisdiction over her. The fact that you only say the Wife is "supposedly in Pennsylvania" suggests that she has never been served the Petition or sent any notices of hearings before the court. You need to consult an attorney for a better understanding of how the law applies to the actual facts in your case.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 6/21/2011
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