My Husband Won’t Respond to My Divorce Petition. What Should I Do

My Husband Won’t Respond to My Divorce Petition. What Should I Do?

Maybe you and your spouse have lived apart for some time and have lost touch. Maybe your spouse does not want the marriage to end. In some cases, you filed for divorce, but your husband won’t respond to your divorce petition. Let’s look at some of the options that are available when something like this happens.

Filing for Divorce in California

First, you will start by completing and filing some or all of the following documents with the court clerk:

  • Petition – Marriage/Domestic Partnership
  • Summons (Family Law)
  • Property Declaration
  • Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (if you have children)
  • Child Custody and Visitation (Parenting Time) Application Attachment (optional)
  • Any other forms required by the clerk in your county.

Next, you must serve copies of your filed documents on your spouse, along with a blank copy of the Response—Marriage/Domestic Partnership. However, don’t do this yourself. Anyone over the age of 18 can deliver the copies, including a friend, relative, county sheriff, or process server. You can also have someone mail the copies if your spouse agrees to accept service by mail.

Then, file a Proof of Service of Summons with the court. This is important because the court cannot end the marriage at this point if your spouse has not received the documents you filed.

Failing to Respond to a Divorce Petition

Let’s assume that you were able to serve your divorce petition on your spouse. You have filed all the paperwork that is required of you. Your husband or wife now has 30 days to respond to your divorce petition.

When a spouse refuses to take any action, the courts can still end your marriage. In California, both people do not have to agree to get divorced.

After 30 days, you and your attorney can ask the court to give you a judgment of divorce and any other orders you request. You will need to file the following documents:

  • Request to Enter Default,
  • Declaration for Default or Uncontested Dissolution or Legal Separation,
  • Judgment, and
  • Notice of Entry of Judgment.

Depending on your situation,  you may need to file documents regarding:

  • child custody and visitation,
  • child support,
  • spousal support, and
  • division of community property and debt.

Remember this: Your divorce does not just disappear because your spouse refuses to respond. His or her previous control over your marriage will not stop your case from proceeding.

When Your Spouse Won’t Respond to Your Divorce Petition, You Still Have Options.

Talk to an experienced California divorce attorney today. Please call us at (415) 293-8314 to schedule a confidential appointment with one of our attorneys.

Please call us at 415-293-8314 to discuss your case. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger assist clients with divorce matters. We maintain offices in San Francisco, San Diego, Beverly Hills, Marin County, Santa Barbara, Ventura/Oxnard, San Jose, Gold River (Sacramento), and surrounding communities.

Can Step-Parents Get Visitation Rights

Can Step-Parents Get Visitation Rights?

Kristen’s husband died when their two children were very young. Three years later, she married Brendan. Soon, Brendan became close to the children, attended ball games, and helped with homework. When Kristen filed for divorce, Brendan was left wondering if step-parents get visitation rights. Would he be allowed to participate in the kids’ lives even though he was not the children’s biological father?

California Visitation Rights, Generally

When parents divorce, they must prepare a parenting plan and submit it to the court for approval. Their plan describes how to split parenting time. Plans typically set out weekly visitation, as well as a holiday schedule.

Child custody also plays a part in visitation. The judge may award sole physical custody, sole legal custody, joint physical custody, or joint legal custody. Depending on the type of custody, a child might live with a custodial parent and only visit the non-custodial parent.

But custody and visitation are usually decided between biological parents. What happens when a step-parent like Brendan asks for visitation.

Step-Parents Visitation and the Kids

Despite living with the children for years, Brendan is not legally considered to be their father. As such, he is not automatically qualified to be considered for custody or visitation.

However, step-parents may petition the court for visitation rights. In fact, California law states that:

“Children have a fundamental right to maintain healthy, stable relationships with a person who has served in a significant, judicially approved parental role.”

Courts may consider Brendan to have served as a parent, and award visitation rights to him. Generally, courts might grant visitation rights to anyone who has an interest in the child’s welfare.

Reasons to Deny Step-Parent Visitation Rights

California law specifically states that reasonable visitation rights will be granted, “if visitation by the step-parent is determined to be in the best interest of the child.” However, judges tend to deny step-parent visitation rights if they feel such visitation is not in the best interests of the child.

Call to Learn More About Step-Parents and Visitation Rights

If you are a step-parent who is fighting to visit your step-kids, contact us to learn more about your options. We can also help if you have reasons for blocking step-parent visitation with your children.

The attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger are experienced at all phases of divorce, including child custody and visitation. Call us at 415-293-8314 to schedule a private appointment or visit our website. We maintain offices in San Francisco, San Diego, Beverly Hills, Marin County, Santa Barbara, Ventura/Oxnard, San Jose, Gold River (Sacramento), and surrounding communities.

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