Family Law Questions? Ask a Family Lawyer Online.
Hello and thank you for contacting us. This is Dwayne B. and I’m an expert here and looking forward to assisting you today.
Before we get started on the question I just wanted to let you know that I broke my right arm last week so some of my answers may be shorter than normal, but still complete, and there may be typos or other small issues. It also takes me a little longer to hunt-and-peck using just my left hand so please bear with me.
On what date were you served?
Usually a failure to file a response results in a default judgement which grants the other person everything they requested. If they haven't had a final hearing then you may still be able to file a response but that depends on the judge. Do you know if there has been a final hearing in the case yet?
Technically, if he is going to ask for something that wasn't in the petition, such as full custody, they should have reserved you to let you know. But, unfortunately, most judges do not check the pleadings. The best thing to do is to contact the court to see if a final order has been entered. The final order will contain the specific terms of custody, visitation, and child support.
You can contact your ex and ask them to send you the orders so you can sign-off on them.
When you failed to file a response you were, in effect, telling the court that whatever order they entered was fine by you. If you had an objection you were suppose to file a response. If you had filed a response you would have been notified of the hearings or the intended entry of any order.
It depends on what stage the case is at. Do you know whether a final order has been filed?
Contact the Clerk of Courts for the where the case was filed and find out the last documents filed. Or you can hire a lawyer to handle it all and they will look at it, determine the stage it is at, and what, if anything, has to be filed.
If a final decree has been entered, which is different than what you thought, you only have 30 days to contest the judgement. After the 30 day mark has passed it becomes much more difficult to change the order.
Because you can no longer do a Motion for New Trial or an appeal so you have to start over by proving conditions have changed since the entry of the prior order. That is just one example but it is considerably more difficult.
Really to know where you are at now is to know what was the last document filed in court. Because at that point you will know whether you can try to file a response or if you have to go to another type of action. With it being now 3 months old, a final order may have been entered.
You are probably right but there is no way to know for sure without looking through the court's file. You don't want to spend your time trying to file a response and end up missing a deadline for filing a motion for new trial or appeal.
You can check online but there is no guarantee it will be accurate. Some clerks are a week or more behind in posting while others will be accurate to the day.
Once you have an idea on the dates of everything you'll likely be in good shape.
If your question has been answered then I'd offer my best wishes to you and ask that you please not forget to leave a 5 Star Positive Rating so I receive credit for my work. Of course, please feel free to ask any follow-up questions in this thread. I want to be sure all of your questions are answered.
You're very welcome.