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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Motion for Default

When a person is served with a lawsuit, there is generally a Summons that states they must respond within a certain amount of time, typically 20 days if served with in the State of Washington, or 60 days if they are severed outside the State of Washington. To protect themselves, they should file a Response to Petition within that time period, filing a copy with the court and delivering a copy to the petitioner or their attorney. The Response to Petition addresses all of the allegations in the Petition, by either admitting or denying them. By filing a Response, it puts the case at issue so that it can proceed to trial. If a person fails to file a Response, the court (and the petitioner) do not know what issues are being disputed.

If no Response has been filed, the moving party (petitioner) can file a Motion for Default, defaulting the responding party (respondent) out of the lawsuit. If that happens, the petitioner can go to court and get everything they have asked for in their Petition (although they cannot exceed what they have asked for). In a Dissolution of Marriage, there is still the 90 day waiting period in Washington that must expire before you can enter the final Decree of Dissolution to dissolve the marriage. To avoid the default from being entered, the respondent must file the Response.

If the respondent has not appeared in the action in any fashion (phone call, letter, signature or formal papers, etc.), then the petitioner can file the Motion for Default without even giving the respondent any notice. If the respondent has appeared in the action, then the petitioner must give them notice of the Motion for Default, so that they have an opportunity to respond.

If you have been served with a Summons and Petition, make sure you put in a timely Response to Petition. If you are the Petitioner and the respondent has not filed a Response, you can file a Motion for Default and enter a Decree along the lines of your Petition, without having to wait for your trial date.

The Renton law firm of Mogren, Glessner & Roti, represents clients in a variety of family law cases, both contested and uncontested. We have 4 attorneys for you to chose from. Please visit our web page at Seattle Divorce Law Firm for more information.

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