Once served, I contacted and hired a lawyer in Riverside, Ca., agreed to retainer and paid on time. after not hearing for a month, I emailed and phoned. finally sent the answer form, i had questions still unanswered but never contacted besides a letter inferring I would be at fault if petitioner filed for default. sent several more calls and emails. attorney finally called and said "not to worry" he'd contact the court and get more time. Further he'd send a corrected answer that day. Answer never sent. One week later, I got court notice "Request to Enter Default". Sent directly from the court, I don't think he ever filed any of the required notices, certainly he never sent me any copies of any court filings. I googled this slug; he has quite a history of doing exactly this
Recommend you file a complaint with the CA State Bar here: http://www.calbar.ca.gov/Attorneys/LawyerRegulation.aspx
Then recommend you retain another family law attorney from Riverside using Avvo. File a motion to reopen the default judgment (CCP 473) and once it's opened, file your response.
The first priority should be to hire a local attorney to set aside the default. If your former attorney is willing to sign an admission that it is his fault, the set aside is automatic so long as less than six months has passed. With defaults, the most important thing is to demonstrate rapid action to remedy the lawyer's mistake. If you don't get the default set aside, you will lose most of you rights to protest matters decided in the dissolution. Good Luck.
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