How Long Before A Default Judgment Is Issued?

default divorce Question:

How long does a defendant have to answer a complaint for divorce before a default judgment is issued?


I am not licensed to practice law in your state. Therefore, I cannot inform you as to the specific laws of your state and can only provide you with general information regarding your situation.

Every state has their own rules regarding how much time a defendant/respondent has to “answer” a complaint. In Virginia, where I am currently practicing, a defendant has 21 days from the date of service to respond.  If a response is not made within 21 days, the plaintiff can move the court for a default judgment.

Although if the defendant fails to respond and can show the court “good cause” for the court to grant the defendant leave to file a late response (for example fraud on the part of the plaintiff), it is within the court’s discretion to allow the defendant to file a late answer and avoid the default judgment.

These rules and procedures vary from state to state so it is important to consult with a qualified, licensed attorney in your state to discuss your options.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Virginia divorce lawyer Jonah Dickey, contact Cordell & Cordell.

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One comment on “How Long Before A Default Judgment Is Issued?

    There is some good reason why judgment in default should be set aside. This covers any situation but is commonly used when service was effected properly, but still did not come to the attention of the Defendant (perhaps they were on a long vacation, or in hospital). Many jurisdictions also require the defendant to proffer a meritorious defense before vacating the default judgment.

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