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What Is a Divorce by Default Judgment on Long Island?

by | Feb 25, 2020 | divorce, divorce lawyer long island ny, News and Events

Divorces can play out in any number of ways. One of those is a default divorce or a default divorce judgment. Here’s what you should know about this type of divorce and how you can get help legally dissolving your marriage.

Default Judgement Divorces Explained

There are two kinds of default divorces on Long Island:

  • A default judgment issued when the defendant does not respond to the divorce petition within the required amount of time
  • The finalization of an uncontested divorce

Typically, the former of the two contexts is the most commonly referred to as a Default Judgement. When a plaintiff files for divorce and the defendant fails to respond after every effort is made to notify them of the petition, the court has no choice but to move forward, usually with the terms requested by the plaintiff.

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Pros and Cons of Divorce by Default

There are many benefits and drawbacks to receiving a default divorce judgment:


  • A divorce by default typically costs less than a contested divorce.
  • Defendants do not have to provide information about their finances in a default divorce.
  • Litigation is bypassed and confidentiality and privacy are maintained.
  • The defendant is typically given a period of time after the judgment to request a court to overturn or set-aside a default judgment.
  • The plaintiff is usually granted their requested divorce terms, within reason.


  • The defendant forfeits their right to have a say in property division, alimony, and child custody matters.
  • The petitioner must provide their financial information, including income, assets, and debts.
  • The petitioner must go above and beyond to show that they attempted to serve the divorce petition to the defendant.
  • If the defendant contests the divorce at any point, even for a short time after the default judgment is issued, both parties must start back the beginning of their divorce.

How to Pursue a Divorce by Default

To pursue a divorce by default on Long Island, you must first file for divorce. Because New York is a no-fault divorce state, your ex cannot contest the divorce itself unless you filed specifically stating another ground/s for divorce, such as adultery. Many people mistakenly believe that they can contest a divorce they don’t agree with by simply not responding, such as if their partner wants to dissolve their marriage while they’d rather work on it. However, this only serves to rob defendants of their rights in the divorce.

Your spouse has 20 days to respond after they are served, and you can file a request for a default judgment to be issued 45 days after the deadline has passed. Your spouse must be properly served with the divorce petition, which may be difficult if they’re purposely attempting to dodge service. You may need to attempt several forms of service to show that every effort was made to make your ex aware of the divorce proceedings.

In the request for a default divorce judgment, you’ll also request all the terms of the original complaint to be included. Essentially, this allows you to decide how you want to proceed with property division, child custody, and other important divorce matters. Your request will either be granted or denied. If granted, the terms of the complaint become the final divorce decree.

When You Should Contact a Long Island Family Lawyer

While a divorce by default is often simpler than a contested divorce — and in some cases, even simpler than an uncontested divorce — it’s still critical to work with an experienced divorce lawyer who can advise you of your legal rights and options. You’ll receive guidance throughout the process of pursuing a default judgment, including helping you make the necessary attempts to have your spouse served with the divorce complaint.

Whether you are the spouse pursuing a default judgment or the one who has received a divorce complaint and are contemplating not responding, it’s in your best interest to consult with an attorney who will help you work toward the goals you identify.

Is divorce by default the right choice for your family? Call Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. today to learn more about default divorce judgments on Long Island or to schedule your free initial consultation at 631-923-1910.

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At your meeting, your attorney will describe the many options available and determine together which is the right solution for you. By the end of this meeting we’ll all understand how we can best help you to move forward.

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Everett Roberts
Everett Roberts
14:30 18 Mar 20
Going through a divorce was very challenging and emotional. Searching for an attorney can be challenging as well when you consider everything that is at stake. The choice I made to work with Rob Hornberger was surely the best choice available. His professionalism, expertise, and understanding made him and the entire team perfectly suited to achieve the outcomes I desired. Rob was always available to answer my questions and give me advice and legal considerations that affected my situation. The support I received from his staff was exemplary as well. The staff was courteous, kind, and also very professional. Thank you so much Rob and team for a worry free experience.
Annemarie Cusumano
Annemarie Cusumano
21:41 17 Mar 20
Being in family court especially when your children are on the line is extremely emotional and stressful but working with Robert and Christine put me at ease and made the process as pleasant as a situation like that can be. I have a now 3 year old daughter (who is the most important person in my life) and I've been working with them for over two years since my daughter was 7 months old, the case has been up and down and through it all Rob and Christine have never given up. My original case was due to a neglect charge. Cps is not easy to work with, but Rob and Christine were vigilant and I ended up getting my daughter back within 8 months and did not have to plead guilty to the neglect. Currently I am in family court to figure out a custody agreement. They are professional, empathetic, and patient. They have always explained everything thoroughly, informed me of all my options and advised me of what my best option would be. They always respond quickly when I contact them with questions or concerns and most importantly they fight for me in court and don't give up even when things get rough. Before hiring Rob and Christine I met with other attorneys who did not make me feel confident or comfortable at all about my case, so I am very grateful to have found Rob and Christine and to be represented by such great attorneys. I highly recommend them for any family court matters and will definitely continue to use them in the future if needed.
Steven Frierman
Steven Frierman
02:25 07 Mar 20
After meeting with 3 different lawyers, we felt Robert understood us best and he genuinely had our best interests at heart. This helped us resolve a few minor issues in a timely fashion and make a potentially stressful situation go more smoothly.Thank you
Randi Gottlieb
Randi Gottlieb
18:47 03 Mar 20
Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. - Mr. Robert Hornberger and his staff are beyond professional, they quickly gave me my consultation appointment, and helped me with an after-Divorce issue. Mr. Hornberger was empathetic and explained to me what I should expect. Mr. Hornberger was extremely professional and advised me of my options, he helped me proceed with accurate and smart decisions. I wish I had Mr. Hornberger and his highly recommended staff when I was getting divorced. I would highly recommend Robert and his staff to anyone who is getting a divorce or in need of help with situations after the divorce!
Rob Spielmann
Rob Spielmann
22:15 27 Feb 20
They made our process so easy. They were there to answer and help with any questions that came up. Very friendly


  • I have known Robert for more than 8 eight years. Robert has represented many of my family and friends. Each and every one has raved about Robert’s professionalism and expertise. He is knowledgable, friendly and truly cares about his clients. I would not hesitate to continue to refer Robert and his firm in the future!
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