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What happens if you ignore a divorce petition?

On Behalf of | Dec 17, 2020 | Divorce

When you’re served with a divorce petition in North Carolina, you might have no idea how to react. In fact, it might seem tempting to ignore the petition altogether and see what happens. However, ignoring a divorce petition doesn’t make it go away–in fact, it can have negative consequences for you in the long run.

What happens if you don’t answer a divorce petition?

Once you’re served with a divorce petition, you can agree or disagree with the conditions laid out in the petition. Typically, you have thirty days to respond to the petition. If you don’t, the petition will go into default.

When the petition goes into default, the court will assume that you agree with the terms laid out in the petition. Once this happens, you won’t be able to challenge any part of the divorce. You can ask the court to set aside the petition, but you’ll have to prove that you have a justifiable reason for not responding to the petition. If you can’t do that, then you’ll simply lose your right to contest the divorce.

For this reason, it’s important to respond to the petition as quickly as possible. You can agree or disagree with various terms laid out in the petition, including matters of child custody and spousal support. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be able to challenge any terms that you don’t agree with in court.

Who can help you with a divorce petition?

If you’re not sure how to proceed, an attorney could read over your divorce petition and help you make decisions that act in your best interests. Once the petition has been turned in, your attorney could help you contest any terms that you disagreed with. This could include dividing up your properties or filing for child custody.