When a person is served with a Petition or a Complaint, they are required to file an Answer within twenty (20) days. Failure to file an Answer, or any documentation whatsoever, can result in a Order of Default being entered against you. A Default Order is supposed to prohibit the defaulted party from entering evidence, calling witnesses, or participating in a trial. If they appear; however, in family law this becomes a difficult situation for the court because family law is a court of equity or fairness, not a court of law. The difference is, if there is evidence that will allow the Judge to rule on the best interest of the child, the court cannot exclude such evidence just because a party defaulted.
A Judge may still limit the defaulting party’s entry of less crucial evidence. However, this will be based on specific facts of your case. If you have the ability to obtain a Default Order, and want to know if that is the best route for you and your case, please contact the attorney’s at Schwam-Wilcox & Associates. We can provide you with the information you need to guide you closer to your cases goal.