What Happens if You Choose to Do Nothing in Your Custody Case?

Jun 01, 2017

The short answer is, if you don't do anything in your case it's not going to be pretty. There are probably a couple of things that can happen.

The first thing that can happen is if someone has filed a petition against you and their asking for a specific result and you haven't responded, or you haven't made an appearance in that case, you haven't responded to discovery requests, you're not showing up for hearings. The likely result is that the judge is going to enter a judgement against you. In some states this is called a Default Judgement.

In a case where you are not doing anything, the other party is probably going to get everything that he or she wants. I have not had this happen in a number of years, but there have been a couple of times where the other party does nothing and what ends up transpiring is me and my client go to a hearing. A judge takes testimony and my client makes requests about whatever he or she is asking for and the judge grants those requests.

The second thing that could happen if you do nothing in your case is potentially be found in contempt of court. If there are court orders in place where the judge is telling you to do X.Y and Z and you ignore those orders, the judge is going to look at it as you are thumbing your nose up at the court.

And the judge could sanction depending on whatever it is that you are not or should be doing. The judge could order you to pay a financial penalty or put in jail. The judge could take away time between you and your kids. So there are a lot of things the judge could do.

I wanted to cover this topic because a few weeks ago a potential client came into my office and she had had a case filed against her months ago. The case was the other parent was seeking to modify existing custody arrangement and parenting time arrangement. And although the parties had never been to court before, they had been making decisions about their child together and in fact the child was spending half the time with the potential client..the mother.

But in the petition that her ex was filing was asking for full decision making and he was asking that the child spend all of the time except for every other weekend with him. So because this potential client hadn't responded, she was on the verge of getting a default judgement against her.

And this was something that was clearly not in the best interest of the child. So I scrambled and tried to help her do damage control. We have yet to find out if we have done that. I hate to see anyone in that position especially when they are actively involved in their child's life. Especially when their child loves them and needs them.
And especially when it's in the best interest of the child for both parents to be involved.

I know this process is scary and a lot of people kind of want to bury their head in the sand and not think about it because it stresses them out too much. Please don't do that. I'm begging you. Don't do 'nothing' in your case.


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