Is there an expiration date on divorce paperwork that is filed in California? 9 Answers as of February 11, 2011

I file for divorce from my wife February 2010. In that same month I also served her. I was told that I had to give her time to respond. After a month with no response, I returned to the court house and explained my situation. From my knowledge, if she does not respond in the given amount of time, her signature could be excluded. And I would be able to continue to follow through with the divorce. But upon being seen at the courthouse, the front desk told me that I would not be able to continue without her paperwork. After continuous tries to reach her, they all failed. But in February of 2011, a family member reached her. She has confirmed that she received the paperwork when I originally sent it. She just did not bother with it. Now she is going to send me the signed paperwork. But the problem is that I am currently deployed in Afghanistan. I am to return in March of 2011. My question is, am I going to have to file the paperwork again? Or did I even have to wait for her paperwork to continue on with my divorce?

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The Law Offices of Daniel S. Frank
The Law Offices of Daniel S. Frank | Daniel S. Frank
Thank you for your inquiry. You could have proceeded with your divorce without her participation after initially allowing her 30 days to respond to your Petition. Your case is not that old andyour "paperwork" would not normally have "expired" at this point so you may not HAVE to re-file. Nevertheless, since itseems as though you may not have been given very sound advice, your pleadings may not have been properly drafted in the first place and it may be in your best interest to amend or re-file anyway. My suggestion would be to call my office when you return in March 2011 andI can sit down with you and carefully review this matter.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/11/2011
Diana K. Zilko, Attorney at Law
Diana K. Zilko, Attorney at Law | Diana K. Zilko
You could have filed for a default judgment when she didn't file a response within 30 days. If she has not filed her response yet, you can still do so. If she has filed, then you will both need to proceed to the next step of the process.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/11/2011
Law Office of Curry & Westgate
Law Office of Curry & Westgate | Patrick Curry
You do not have to refile, when you return from duty, just file the necessary paperwork to finalize your divorce or you can hire an attorney now to do it for you.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/11/2011
Goldberg Jones
Goldberg Jones | Zephyr Hill
If you properly served her, you would not need her signature because she would be in Default. However, if you mailed the documents, you did not "Serve" her and you would need her to sign a Notice & Acknowledgment of Receipt. Once you have that back you have many more steps to go, but we could do it for you while you are deployed or maybe a family member could do them for you. As long as the court has not dismissed your action, it is still open and I doubt you will have to file again.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/11/2011
Edwin Fahlen Attorney at Law
Edwin Fahlen Attorney at Law | Edwin Fahlen
I have reviewed your case information and I can help you with your divorce an take you through all the steps necessary to make as sure as can be that you give only what you must, and receive everything to which you are entitled.

Since documents have been filed with the court it is very important that we speak as soon as possible, so I can evaluate your problem, and if hired protect all of your interests, hopefully without going to court. If your wife wants to "stick her head in the sand" we can proceed without her. You do NOT need to start over again. Cost, $2,500.00, get the case finished, unless there are issues you have not disclosed.

You may find some helpful information on my website and the best way to contact me for an immediate response is for you to call.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/11/2011
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
    There is an "expiration date" for the service of the Summons in California.

    Service must be made within two years of the filing of the Petition, pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure Section 583.420(b), or the case can be dismissed by the Court. The local rules of the county in which the action is filed may prescribe a shorter time.

    If you merely mailed the papers to your wife with a Notice and Acknowledgment of Receipt of service to sign and return to you, and she failed to sign and return that document to you, your wife hasn't been served.

    You or your Family Law Attorney should hire a process server to serve conformed copies of the Petition, Summons, the Declaration under UCCJEA, and a blank Response on your wife, if she hasn't been served, and upon service, you or your Family Law Attorney should promptly file the proof of service with the Court, with a copy for the Clerk to conform and return to you. Your wife doesn't have to sign anything to be served in that manner, and assuming that you timely handle the service, you won't need to re-file a divorce case.

    You should retain a Family Law Attorney to handle the case for you and advise you regarding what needs to be done in the case, especially due to the fact that you are based outside of the U.S.

    Once your wife is served with process, it depends upon how or if she responds to the Petition as to how the case will proceed. If she doesn't respond, your Family Law Attorney would file a Request to Enter her Default, and once granted, she will not be able to respond or participate in the case. If she does respond, you will need an attorney to represent you here to determine what to do and when to do it in the divorce case.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/10/2011
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz | Joseph A. Katz
    You did not have to wait for her paperwork.The information you were given appears to have been dead wrong. California is a 'no fault' divorce state, so how could have ever be required to wait for your ex-wife to file a Response? If that was case, you would never be able to get a divorce until she consented to participate. Ridiculous! You could have filed for a Default Judgment after thirty days if she failed to respond. You could still do so now. Due to the Soldier's and Sailor's Civil Relief Act your ex-wife cannot proceed against you while you are deployed or stationed overseas. Contact your JAG Corps. You might try writing to the Court to explain the situation if your ex-wife tries to run motions against you while you are overseas.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/10/2011
    Maclean Chung Law Firm
    Maclean Chung Law Firm | G. Thomas MacLean Jr.
    Usually you don't have to wait, you could have filed a Request to Enter Default, and proceed without her in a default divorce case. You do not have to refile your paperwork, your petition is still good. A case can stay open up to five years before the courts won't allow you to proceed without a refiling of the petition.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/10/2011
    Pisarra and Grist
    Pisarra and Grist | David T. Pisarra
    You have up to 5 (five) years from the date the case is filed to get a judgment. You have plenty of time to get her to sign off or file for a default judgment.

    As active military you can receive a 10% discount from my office for fees. I also will give you a credit for the price of any E-books you have downloaded from my website if you retain me later.

    My books, A MAN'S GUIDE TO CHILD CUSTODY and A MAN'S GUIDE TO DIVORCE STRATEGY.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/10/2011
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