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What are the next steps after entering a default re: divorce?

San Jose, CA |

I filed for divorse back in Nov.2011 and in June 2012 the entering the default was granted since my spouse hasn't responded and we signed an agreement later. I prepared and filed everything for Judgement. How long does it usually take to finalize the divorce?
Thank you.

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Attorney answers 4


It depends on whether or not all appropriate documents were properly prepared and signed, and which court you filed in. The judgment clerk will reject the judgment package unless all appropriate documents were properly prepared and signed, and at least four Notice of Entry of Judgment forms were included in the package. With properly prepared and signed documents, it typically has taken between 1 week and 2 months for the court to process the documents and enter judgment, depending on the particular court. Because of court personnel cutbacks due to the economy, it could take longer.

Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, as each situation is fact specific, and it is not possible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and court pleadings filed in the case. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship.



So, if there are missing document, does the court notifice the attorney or petitionar right away? when you say "The judgment clerk will reject the judgment package unless all appropriate documents were properly prepared and signed" , do you mean, it will get reviewed to make sure everything is received at the court? It will not go thru the judgement process unless everything is good? I hope it will not take 2 months to just find out if we are missing some documents to have the judgement getting stamped.

Donald Frederick Conviser

Donald Frederick Conviser


The Judgment Clerk reviews the documents to determine whether or not the Judgment Package is complete and correctly prepared. There is a backlog in processing Judgment Packages - different in each Court. If the Judgment Clerk determines there is a deficiency, he/she will prepare a punch-list and send it to the filing party with the documents that were filed, to enable that party to remedy the error and re-file. You can call your Court and try to get in touch with is Family Law Judgment Clerk in an effort to determine what is happening with your Judgment Package.


It is not uncommon for your judgment paperwork to be rejected by court staff. Unless you included a large prepaid self-addressed envelope with your paperwork, your papers might be rejected and you will never know.

The court probably maintains a public pick-up box. If you did not provide a return envelope, go to the court and look through this box for your papers.


Our office has maintained a family law practice in Alameda County, Santa Clara County and Contra Costa County for the past 31 years. I have represented several thousand of individuals in family law matters.

You have received good advice from previous attorneys responding to your Avvo request. Honestly, unless you were very well coached by and through a review of credible legal materials, or at a minimum had assistance of a para legal, it is statistically improbable for you to have your first filing with the court of a Judgment past mustering and go through the process and not be rejected for non-conformance with procedural requirements. What has to be accomplished to obtain your final judgment, in regard to many divorces, not particularly logical or common senseless. If you are in no rush, the court probably bounce it back several times and you will have to make a number of corrections. If you are in a rush at all, retain legal counsel If you want to minimize your time and effort and can't afford legal counsel, you probably should retain service of a para legal.

John N. Kitta

This participating Attorney does not warrant any information provided, nor are we creating an Attorney-Client relationship by providing said information to you on this site. Nothing contained herein is intended to constitute, offer, induce, promise, or contract of any kind. The content provided is presented as a courtesy to be used only for informational purposes and is not represented to be error free. The Law Offices of John N. Kitta makes no representations or warranties of any kind with respect to its answer to inquiries, and such representations and warranties are being expressly disclaimed. Given limited facts, we are attempting to share relevant information concerning this area of the law as a public service.


A little more information would need to be provided in order to give you proper advisement about this. If the Agreement that the two of you signed was properly executed (notarized and signed by both parties, and also put into the proper format for Judgment or Stipulation), this packet can be sumbitted to the Court for signature as long as Disclosures were also exchanged by both of you. Since your spouse's Default was entered but he signed an Agreement, the Disclosures must be completed by both of you, not just you. One of the things that has to be stated in the Judgment is that you both had knowledge of the other person's assets, debts, income, and expenses. Forms can be completed in order to fulfill this requirement and hopefully this was done already since those forms should be exchanged before an Agreement is signed. You may want to go the Family Law Clinic and show them what you have in order to find out if you need additional forms to be signed and/or exchanged by both of you. Once a Judgment is properly completed and is submitted to the Court, it could take about 5-10 weeks to receive back from the Court. It all depends on how busy the Judgment Clerk is and how soon after the Clerk reviews thew Judgment packet the Judge signs off on the paperwork. If a packet is returned because something essential is missing or improperly done, then extra time will obviously be needed to correct the problem. You really want to be sure that what you submit the first time around is correct in order to avoid undue delay. A family law attorney could look over your documents and perhaps make some suggestions to you about what, if anything, still needs to be done. It may cost you some money to get that advice, but it could be worth it in the end so that you do things correctly. It is so easy for there to be mistakes because there is a lot of detailed language required in Agreements and a lot of forms that are submitted with a Judgment packet and Agreement.

This is not intended to be complete legal advice since more of your situation should be known and described to an attorney. A thorough review of your paperwork by an attorney would be highly recommended. If you cannot afford that, perhaps the Family Law Clinic can be of assistance to you. The local website can also help you. There is also a Judgment checklist that describes what is needed to be turned in to the Clerk for a Default Judgment to be processed with an Agreement. That is a category on the sure to review that! It could really help.



Is there a way to make sure nothing is missig to finalize the divorce? can family division able to tell me exactly what I am missing? County clerk was not able to give me any information, and my attorney is no help!

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