Default Divorce

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A default divorce is one in which one party obtains a judgment of divorce based on the other party's failure to file an answer to the divorce petition. A default divorce may be obtained when one spouse is unable to find the other, when on spouse abandons the other, when the second spouse refuses to participate in the divorce action, or when the parties agree to enter a default as part of an uncontested divorce. For example, in the New York state case, Armstrong v. Armstrong, the court allowed a default divorce where, as a result of substantial misconduct of one spouse, marriage relationship is no longer viable or is “defunct,” and the spouse suffered from cruel and inhuman treatment.

[Last updated in December of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]