Orange County Court Family Law – Need An Extension?
Preparing the correct forms and documents in an Orange County Court, Family Law case can be frustrating. First, just figuring out which forms to fill out is confusing. Then, you have to figure out which forms to file with the Court and which forms have to be completed and served upon the opposing party. Finally, you have to serve the correct Court documents upon the opposing party properly. Certain documents must be personally served. If the documents are mailed to the opposing party, the party has to sign a Notice and Acknowledgment of Receipt and mail it back to the serving party. The formalities and rules can be difficult to navigate without an attorney.
After the initial paperwork is done and served upon the opposing party, the opposing party must respond to the Court documents within a certain deadline. In an Orange County Court Family law case, many people represent themselves thinking that they can handle their own paperwork. Often people get served with Court papers and do not respond in the time allotted, either because they did not read the instructions carefully or they just didn’t know how to respond. Many ask what happens if you do not file your response in time? Is it possible to get an extension of time to respond? How do you get more time to file a response?
Every Petitioner and Respondent in an Orange County Court Family law case has to file the appropriate forms. For example if the Petitioner files the Petition of Dissolution, the Respondent has to file a response to the Petition. If one party files a declaration stating what they are requesting, then the opposing party needs to file a responsive declaration. Yes, there are time frames in which these responses need to be filed with the Court. In cases filed with the Orange County court, Family Law attorneys will know all the Court procedures and requirements. If no responses are filed, the Judge will want proof that the opposing party was served correctly. If the Judge finds that service was done properly and all the appropriate forms were filed with the Court, the Judge will have no other choice but to approve a Default Judgment. A Default Judgment means that one party will get a Court order for whatever they want in the divorce. In the Orange County Court, Family Law Judges do not particularly like giving Default Judgments, because the orders of the Court can be inequitable and unfair to the parties involved. Your rights in a divorce could be adversely affected if you do not follow the procedures and respond in a timely manner.
However, if you did miss your response date, your attorney can file a Motion with the Court to get an extension of time to respond. But, by the time your attorney has filed a Motion and gets to Court, it just gives the other side time to file a Default Judgment. The smarter thing to do is hire an attorney and have your attorney call the opposing counsel or request, in writing, time to respond. A call or letter from you to the Petitioner will not be considered a proper response and will not protect you. But an agreement between attorneys will save everyone time and money.
Although, if a Default Judgment has already been filed, it can be set aside by filing a Motion with the Orange County court. Family Law attorneys will need to be consulted at this point in the proceedings because a Set Aside Motion can be complicated. Be aware that a Default Judgment can be filed the day after a response is due. So, follow the rules and time to respond. Please let us know if we can help you.