If you have filed for divorce but have not served your spouse, you can still obtain a divorce. A process server must serve the divorce petition. Alternatively, you can serve the divorce petition using a substitute method. The judge will consider whether a substitute method is appropriate if it will be able to serve the defendant. You must serve your spouse by the required date or by the deadline. In the case of an uncontested divorce, you must serve your spouse within 14 days of the filing date.
Defendant defaults in an uncontested divorce
When a defendant fails to respond to a Notice of Deficiency (NOD), the divorce process begins over. This is more complicated than an uncontested divorce, which only requires a plaintiff to file a complaint and wait 35 days for the respondent to respond. If the respondent fails to respond, the plaintiff must serve a Complaint for Divorce on the defendant and wait another 35 days before filing a Request to Enter default.
If the defendant fails to respond to the Notice of Deficiency, the plaintiff can file a Request to Enter default with the Family Court. This document lists the date the non-responding party was served and signs an “Affidavit of Service.” It states that 35 days have passed since the proper service of the complaint, and the defendant has failed to file a responsive pleading. In Georgia, the request to enter default must be filed within 40 days after the service of the complaint. The defendant must wait at least 40 days before filing a reply. Alternatively, the defendant must file the remaining divorce papers.
Defendant signs “Affidavit of Defendant”
When a defending spouse does not respond to divorce papers, the Defendant defaults and signs “Affidavits of Default.” The plaintiff must file an Answer with the Supreme Court and serve the Disputed Person with the Answer. In some cases, the defendant may want to consult a lawyer before signing the “Affidavit of Defendant” (AOS).
The defendant must acknowledge service of process. In civil cases, this acknowledgment is necessary because it gives the defendant additional time to file an answer. Also, the defendant saves court costs by acknowledging service. Usually, a sheriff’s department serves the documents; if the defendant loses the case, those costs would be assessed against him.
Defendant does not respond to a divorce petition.
If the defendant does not respond to divorce papers after being served, it is a matter of default. The court will consider the case and set a hearing date. The defendant must be served within that time frame. A divorce petition must be served on the defendant within a certain number of days, or the date will be automatically extended to the next day. Depending on the state, the defendant may have to hire a lawyer to help with the case.
In addition to serving the defendant, the court may also order the spouse to submit copies of the documents. The defendant does not have to be served in person. The spouse must mail a copy of the documents to the plaintiff within three days of filing the petition. This can be done by regular mail or electronically if the other party has registered for e-service. The spouse must complete and file a Certificate of Service with the court.
Defendant does not sign the “Affidavit of Defendant”
If the defendant does not respond to the divorce petition or does not sign the “Affidаvit of Defendant” filed for the divorce, the plaintiff will default, and the case will move forward. If the defendant does not sign the affidavit, the plaintiff will file the contested divorce papers in the County Clerk’s Office or Supreme Court clerk’s office. The court will then certify the service and the Judgment of Divorce.