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What Happens if I Don’t Respond to the Summons and Complaint?

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It is VERY important for you to read and consider responding to any court papers you receive saying that a court case has started. If you don’t respond to the Summons and Complaint papers that were served on you, the person filing the case can ask the judge to make court orders without waiting for any information from you. This is called a “default judgment". Opens new window This may mean that the person who started the lawsuit will get everything they ask for in their papers. 

If a default judgment has been entered against you (because you failed to file an Answer or appear in your case), there is a possibility that you still may be able to have the judge hear your side.  A default judgment may be canceled, or “set aside” if:

  • you had a very good reason for not responding to your papers and
  • you try to take care of it as soon as you realize what has happened. 

However, getting a default judgment set aside is a very complicated legal issue. You may need to contact an attorney for legal advice. 

You can visit the Family Law Facilitator’s Office for more information.

  • To find the Facilitator’s office in your county, click here. Opens new window
  • For the Family Law Facilitator in Contra Costa County, California, click here. Opens new window



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