What is default judgment in a child custody case mean?

What is default judgment in a child custody case mean?

What is default judgment in a child custody case mean?

A default judgment in a child custody case is a decision made by a judge in favor of one party due to the inaction of the opposing party. In a child custody battle, if a defendant fails to respond to the inquires of the court within enough time, a default judgment can be granted in favor of the plaintiff.
Child custody cases are some of the most challenging cases for many judges around the country to handle. This is due primarily to the very personal nature and often hostile courtroom environments that these types of cases produce. If you’re someone going through a child custody battle, it’s essential to know all of your case’s possible outcomes so that you can prepare yourself to gain the upper hand in the judge’s eyes.

A default court judgment is basically the final option for child custody cases in which one party has not responded to a court inquiry in enough time ad outlined by the appointed deadline. Another settlement option that you’ll have the ability to accept is an agreement; an agreement means that both parties have concluded on a final means of resolution for a case.

Depending on the relationship between the two parties involved in a child custody case, coming to an agreement or settlement in which both parties are satisfied can be nearly impossible. In this instance, a default judgment is likely to happen.
To help you better understand exactly what a default judgment is and how to avoid one if you’re the defendant in a child custody case, we’re going to provide you with a detailed breakdown below.

What does it mean to get a default judgment in a child custody case?

After the defendant and plaintiff’s initial court appearance in a child custody case, the defendant will have 21 days to respond to the initial court inquiry with either a complaint or summons. If a defendant in a child custody case fails to take either action within 21 days, the plaintiff has the ability to request a default ruling.

In the event that the judge grants a plaintiff’s default ruling request, the plaintiff will be required to appear at a short court hearing to get the final custody order approved. Once approved, the plaintiff will receive a custody decree which finalizes the battle between both parties.
As a plaintiff in a child custody case, a default ruling is one of the best decisions you can ask for because it means that the defendant essentially didn’t put up a fight.

How to set yourself up for the best possible outcome in your child custody case

If you’re the defendant in a child custody case and want to avoid a default judgment at all costs, you need to make sure that you respond to any court inquiries which may come your way after the initial hearing. As long as you submit some sort of response within the allotted amount of time, you will be able to dispute any claims the plaintiff throws against you.
If you’re confused about any of the details in your child custody case, mainly, you should contact a reliable family law attorney to help you.

People Also Ask

Q: What is a motion of default judgment?
A: A default judgment is any judgment made in favor of one party due to a failure to act on behalf of another party. You will often see default judgment rendered in favor of the plaintiff when a defendant fails to respond to a summons or other court order.

Q: What happens after a motion for default is filed?
A: The defendant will be given the ability to set aside the default judgment, and the judge must honor it. In this case, a new hearing will be scheduled and the court clerk will mail both parties a notice of the new hearing date.

Q: What happens if I don’t pay my judgment?
A: If a party fails to pay their judgment, the amount of the initial judgment amount will increase on a daily basis. The amount of interest a party pays on a judgment they have not fulfilled will increase by 10% each year.


Now that you know precisely what a default judgment is, use it to prepare better your case against the judge on your first child custody hearing. Ask yourself what some of the most prominent points you have to make against the other party to increase your odds of winning your child custody battle are.

Howell Decision

Howell Decision

Howell v. Howell.

On Monday, May 17th, 2017, The United States Supreme Court ruled on the case Howell v. Howell, a case The Law Office of Matthew Randle has been following closely and wrote about earlier.

The case was based on Mr. Howell and Mrs. Howell’s 1991 divorce. The couple was litigating their divorce within 1 year until Mr. Howell’s retirement from the military. In the end, the couple’s divorce decree specified that Mrs. Howell would receive half of his military retirement pay. But in 2005, was awarded VA Disability pay that reduced his retirement by $250, which reduced Mrs. Howell’s monthly portion by $125. Claiming that her personal property interest in the retirement had been wrongly reduced Mrs. Howell went back to court, where she argued that, even if Mr. Howell’s retirement pay had been reduced, she should still receive half of what his retirement pay would have been without the disability benefits. The Maricopa Superior Court, Arizona State Appellate Court, and the Arizona State Supreme Court all agreed with her, but on May 15, 2017, the US Supreme Court reversed, siding with Mr. Howell.

What is the Howell decision ruling based on?

The ruling was largely based on the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act, a 1982 federal law governing the disposition of military retirement pay in divorces, and Mansell v. Mansell, a 1989 Supreme Court case interpreting that statute.

The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act makes clear that state courts can divide up “disposable retired pay,” which it defines as the service member’s retired pay, minus any portion of that pay waived in favor of disability benefits. And in Mansell v. Mansell, the court ruled that the act does not permit state courts to treat retirement pay that has been waived to receive veterans’ disability benefits as something that can be divided.

Howell v. Howell

The justices agreed with Mr. Howell and his argument that his VA Disability Pay was non-divisible, even after the divorce decree was finalized. The Court explained that under federal law state courts simply lack the authority to divide up Mr. Howell’s disability benefits, even if it means that Mrs. Howell winds up receiving less money than she might have originally. Further, the Court clarified that the state courts can’t get around the restrictions imposed by federal law by characterizing the award to Mrs. Howell as an order to Mr. Howell to “reimburse” her for the money that she no longer receives.

Justice Breyer opinion on the Howell Decision

In his opinion, Justice Breyer acknowledged that the federal statute and today’s ruling could make things harder for former military spouses like Mrs. Howell. Explaining the potential implications of this ruling Justice Breyer suggested that, going forward, state courts can try to account for the possibility that a veteran could later waive some part of retirement pay in favor of disability benefits through some other community property or support offset.

Important note for retired service members and their former spouses is that this case does not impact those who are retired and receive VA Disability compensation for being rated 50% disabled or more. Because of the Concurrent Benefit program, which we wrote about here, a retired service member who is both retired and rated at 50% or more, will receive BOTH amounts in full (VA and Retirement). As such the former spouse’s portion of a community property award would not be reduced by electing VA Disability pay.

Contact Randle, Palmer, & Associates for legal help today

As always, it is of the utmost importance that if either party in a divorce is eligible for any Military or VA benefits you hire counsel that understands and knows the rules so that your rights are protected. The Law Office of Randle, Palmer, & Associates is considered a Subject Matter Expert in this area and is here to help you through the tough times.

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