Vacating a Default Judgment in Family Court

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A Default Judgment Has Been Entered Against Me, What Does this Mean?

A default judgment is a binding judgment entered in favor of the person who sued you, when you have failed to either respond to a summons or to appear in court.  If you do nothing, the judgment will be final. 

Can I Move to Vacate a Default Judgment in Family Court?

In family court, you may have a default judgment entered against you before you have gotten the chance to give your side of the story about your family life and relationships, either because you were not informed of the proceedings against you or because you did not file an answer to the petition or motion. 

Courts are generally willing to vacate default judgments as it is preferred to settle matters on their merits and not be default.  This is especially true in cases of divorce and child custody or child support hearings, where the welfare of a child is often the main issue, or where one party wants to preserve the marriage. 

What Do I Need to Prove In Order to Vacate a Default Family Judgment

Any time you move to vacate a default judgment, you must prove that your failure to answer or appear was due to any of the following: 

In matters such as divorce or custody disputes, the court will also likely grant your motion if the divorce or custody decree is abnormal or irregular in its terms, of if the best interests of your child have not yet been addressed in court. 

Do I Need an Attorney In Order to Get Relief From a Default Judgment?

Convincing the court that the judgment entered against you should be set aside can be quite a challenge.  An experienced family attorney will be able to assist you in vacating a default judgment against you. 

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Last Modified: 04-18-2013 11:01 AM PDT

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