Divorce by Default in MontanaMarybeth Sampsel
Once you have filed your Petition for Dissolution and served your spouse with it and the Summons/Temporary Economic Restraining Order, your spouse has 20 days to file their Response. If after 20 days, your spouse fails to file a Response to the Petition for Dissolution, you can request the Clerk of Court enter your spouse’s default.
Though you still have to attend a hearing and appear in court to finalize your dissolution, the court generally grants you the property division and/or parenting plan you request – provided the property division is equitable and the parenting plan is in the best interest of the children. A default dissolution can move incredibly quickly. Essentially, if your spouse does not file a Response in 20 days, you can be officially divorced a few days after the 20 day mark.
If you are someone that has been served with a Petition for Dissolution and Summons/Temporary Economic Restraining Order, the worst thing you can do is ignore it and hope it goes away. The dissolution process will go forward with or without you and it can be difficult to set aside a default. If you have been served, I urge you to consult with an attorney as soon as possible so that you can ensure you will have a Response filed with the court within the 20 day mark.