What Happens If My Spouse Doesn’t Respond To The Divorce Petition In Vermont?

Divorce proceedings can be incredibly challenging, particularly when faced with an uncooperative spouse. Vermont has specific legal requirements and procedures in place for filing a divorce. The act of filing a divorce petition initiates the process, and if your spouse fails to respond to the petition, it can raise numerous questions. In this article, we will explore what happens if your spouse does not respond to the divorce petition in Vermont.

Understanding Divorce Proceedings in Vermont

Divorce is a legal process that brings an end to a marriage or domestic partnership. In Vermont, the process begins when one spouse files a divorce petition with the court. Upon filing the petition, the court will serve copies of the petition and summons to the other spouse. The summons requires a written response from the other spouse within 21 days of receipt.

The response from your spouse to the divorce petition holds significant importance as it indicates their agreement or disagreement with the divorce and its terms. In the event that they fail to respond, you might need to take additional steps to progress with the divorce.

What Happens If the Spouse Doesn’t Respond to the Divorce Petition

If your spouse does not respond after receiving the divorce petition, it simply implies that they are not contesting the divorce. In Vermont, if your spouse remains unresponsive, you can proceed with an uncontested divorce. This type of divorce allows the court to grant the divorce based on the terms outlined in your original petition.

Within an uncontested divorce, both you and your spouse will need to reach an agreement on the division of property, child custody, and support. Failure to reach an agreement may result in the court making those decisions on your behalf.

Filing for Default Judgment

Should your spouse fail to respond to the divorce petition, you have the option to file for a default judgment. Essentially, this means that you are requesting the court to grant your divorce based on the information provided in your original petition. The court will review the petition and, upon satisfaction, grant the divorce according to the provided information. To file for a default judgment, you will need to submit a motion to the court.

Contested Divorce Proceedings

In the event that your spouse eventually responds to the divorce petition, the situation becomes a contested divorce. A contested divorce leads to a court proceeding where the judge will make decisions on the terms of the divorce if you and your spouse fail to reach an agreement.

During a contested divorce, the court will hold a trial and hear evidence from both parties before making a final determination. It is essential to note that contested divorces can be time-consuming, and enlisting the guidance and support of an experienced divorce attorney in Vermont is highly recommended.


If your spouse does not respond to the divorce petition, there is no immediate cause for panic. You can still proceed with an uncontested divorce if you and your spouse come to an agreement on the divorce terms. Opting for a default judgment might be the best course of action if no agreement can be reached. However, if a resolution cannot be reached, the divorce may proceed as a contested proceeding, and it is advisable to seek the assistance of a skilled divorce attorney in Vermont. Their expertise will undoubtedly facilitate the process and provide necessary support throughout.

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