Spouse Who Did Not Participate in Divorce Still Entitled to Equitable Distribution

By February 21, 2014Divorce & Family Law

A New Jersey trial court refused to grant a wife everything  she  was asking for, by default, in a divorce case where the husband failed to participate in the court proceedings. In the case Clementi v Clementi, the couple had been married since 1973 and lived as husband and wife for approximately 40 years. They had no children and operated a store as their primary source of income. The wife filed for divorce in March 2013 and the husband has failed to respond to the divorce complaint. The court determined that the wife is not automatically entitled to a default judgment granting all requests regarding equitable distribution of their assets. The wife still has an ongoing obligation to persuade the court that the proposal for equitable distribution is fair. Although the court may consider the husband’s failure to object as one of many relevant factors, is not necessarily the same as his express written consent, and cannot be the sole and exclusive basis for a court to determine that the proposal is fair, reasonable, and equitable.

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