The Courts Disfavor Default
Video Transcribed: You had her served, she didn’t respond. You had her notified of the fact that there’s a hearing coming up, she didn’t show. Now what? My name is Brian L. Jackson. I’m a Men’s Child Custody Lawyer in Tulsa Ok with dads.law. And today we’re going to talk about a default judgment. What is a default judgment?
A default judgment is basically what happens if one party to a lawsuit, and it can be any lawsuit, but in this case, I want to talk about it in the context of divorces, if the party fails to respond to pleadings or if they fail to appear for court.
Now to get default judgment, typically what you… Well, not typically, this is what you have to do. It has to be a situation where you can prove that the other party was properly served and that they didn’t respond to the pleadings within the statutory time period.
And then you have to set a hearing up in court and they have to fail to appear for the hearing. If they show up for the hearing, typically you’re not going to get a default judgment. Judges are typically fairly lenient with that. And if the other party shows up, even if they haven’t responded to the pleadings, you’re probably not getting default judgment.
Default judgment, generally speaking, only comes into play when you are looking at a situation where the person has just absolutely neglected to do anything in the context of a divorce, particularly if there are kids involved. The courts disfavor default, and because of that, if someone shows up at a default hearing in divorce court, in particular, they’re not going to probably get defaulted. They may get an ass chewing.
The judge will most likely be like, “Look, you need to get after this.” But they’re probably not going to get defaulted, particularly not if there are children involved. Now, another thing to be aware of with default judgments is it may sound like an easy way to get what you want.
Because essentially, if it’s defaulted, you’re going to get whatever you ask the court for without any input from the other side. The problem is that one, you better be able to show that you really did make a good faith effort to serve that person, and either they were in fact served or the fact that they were not served and only got noticed by publication was due to no fault of your own, that you made a good-faith effort.
And the other thing is because they’re disfavored if the person does find out they’ve defaulted and they’re quick enough on the draw, they can do what’s called a motion to vacate the decree that came out of that default judgment.
And the odds are pretty damn good that the default will be vacated if they do it within 30 days in term time because default judgments are per se disfavored. So it’s not an easy way to get what you want.
So don’t see it that way. It’s basically the last resort when somebody is just not cooperating. And that’s how it should be seen. If you need help with a situation like that, go to dads.law, where we will fight for your father’s rights in Tulsa.