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Default Divorce Judgement overturned

Somerset, NJ |

I recently was awarded a default divorce judgement in Middlesex County. Now the defendant in the case has petitioned the judge to vacate the default judgement stating that she had contacted the court clerks after receiving the final judgement and was informed that her response was sitting in their outbox and never got filed thus a default hearing should not have taken place at all. Is it possible that the judge can now vacate and overturn my divorce and has this ever been done before in New Jersey? I am about to remarry in 2 months and very concerned

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Attorney answers 5


It would appear that the default judgment could be reopened due to it being procedurally defective since service was not proper. However, depending on the other issues involved, it may be that the end result of a divorce decree is a goal of the defendant, too, such that this could be quickly cured if handled properly.

You should consult with a family law attorney immediately.

Good luck,
PS: Please mark this as a best answer if it is most helpful to you.

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The court will probably schedule you both to appear and go over the issues on the record. Unless he contests a material issue, the divorce. If the opposite occurs, however, there could be another hearing on the matter. You should definitely get a formal consultation with a family attorney, where all the documents will be reviewed.


I concur with the above contributors. It is likely that the court will not vacate the actual dissolution of the marriage but if there are questions as to equitable distribution, spousal or child support then the court may reopen the matter to address those issues.

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There are reasons for her to obtain the vacation of the default judgment. You should retain an attorney to negotiate a resolution to your open issues.

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I agree with the other responses.

What the court may do (and what you may need to ask the court to do in case it doesn't think of this) is to "bifurcate" the issues if the judgment is vacated. That means that you'd still be divorced and free to remarry, but whatever issues existed would be open for resolution or a trial. The court rules carry a presumption against bifurcating divorces, but your facts are sufficiently unusual that I'd wager a court would agree that it's the only way to proceed.

IF YOU LIKE THIS ANSWER AND APPRECIATE THE TIME IT TOOK TO WRITE IT, PLEASE SELECT IT AS "BEST ANSWER." Thanks. The above is said without seeing your case file and without my understanding the entirety of the facts of your case. Depending on those facts, the above information be may incomplete or may be completely inaccurate. The above is intended as general information only based on what you described and not as legal advice. I advise you to consult with counsel who may be able to provide better information commensurate with a better understanding of your situation.