I defaulted in appearance in a divorce action and now an inquest is scheduled. What do I do to appear in the action and stop the inquest?
I received a Defendant's affidavit from an attorney. I did not sign it because there are issues of equitable distribution to be resolved, custody, and child support. I wrote a letter to the attorney and the Court stating that I did not agree to the divorce. Now, I got a notice that there is going to be an inquest.
What do I do? Do I have to file a motion?
Family Law Attorney
Yes, one of your options is to file a motion to vacate the default; however, it is possible that the divorce may be granted anyway, and the "unresolved issues" will just get more complicated and difficult to resolve. A better approach would be to engage an attorney to represent you so you won't be at such a disadvantage as you are now. Good luck!
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Divorce / Separation Lawyer
Consult with an experienced divorce lawyer immediately. You need a motion to vacate the default, an answer, a claim for equitable distribution, a request for custody or visitation, and prepare a defense for child support or determine an appropriate amount. You should not be representing yourself in a complicated divorce action with assets and child to divide and a lack of knowledge of legal procedure.
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Divorce / Separation Lawyer
Writing a letter to - or calling - the Plaintiff's attorney is insufficient to fromally answer the complaint, as you've found. To vacate your default, you must technically file a motion to vacate your default in the action. You must generally provide a reasonable excuse for your default as well as state a "meritorious defense." I also highly recommend, at the least that you schedule a free consultation with a White Plains Divorce attorney.
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8 lawyers agree
You must make a formal motion to vacate your default, and I strongly urge you to retain a lawyer to do it. You're in a difficult situation. If your default isn't vacated (and it won't be if you don't have a good reason to explain why it happen), your property and possibly maintenance rights could be seriously affected (it shouldn't change child support, though).
It is crucial that you hire an attorney immediately; otherwise s/he won't have enough time to try to vacate the default.
I am an attorney admitted solely in NY. None of the answers I submit on this forum constitutes legal advice, even to questioners in NY, and no attorney-client relationship is hereby created.
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