NJ Rule 4:50 Need to Vacate Default in New Jersey Family Court?

By Santo Artusa on June 06, 2019

If you have been served with divorce papers, annulment papers or motions papers for a case in New Jersey and you did not respond, did not respond in time, responded incorrectly or claim you were not served, the New Jersey Divorce and Family Law Attorneys at the Artusa Law Firm can help you today. We are experienced in vacating court orders, judgments and defaults in family court. So while you have 35 days to respond, IN WRITING, to a divorce summons, if you did not, you can still move fast and hire an attorney to file a motion to vacate the default under New Jersey Court Rule 4:50. There are many factors involved in whether a Judge will vacate an order and we have the knwoledge and experience as to how to do so. One thing is for sure, the sooner you file, the sooner you try to vacate the order, the better chance you have. 

While an experienced lawyer can never promise with 100% certainty what will happen in court, when I discuss options with my clients or potential clients, I give an honest evaluation as to whether it is worth spending the time and money on vacating an order, vacating a judgment, or vacating a default that has yet to become an order or judgment. Where you served? Was someone in your home served? Is there excusable neglect as to why you did not respond if you were in fact served?  If you have been served with New Jersey divorce papers and it has been 35 days since you were served, you need to move quickly so that we can try to vacate the default and/or permit us to file an answer out of time, without a motion. If you cannot vacate the default, you will need to file a motion in family court trying to vacate the order/judgment/default, etc. We have a very sucessful track record in vacating judgments and defaults throughout the New Jersey Family and Civil Courts. 

Some reasons that you could vacate an order/judgment/default are:

  1. Mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect.
  2. Newly discovered evidence that would probably alter the judgment or order and that could not have been discovered in time to move for a new trial under New Jersey Rule 4:50-1(b).
  3. Fraud, misrepresentation, or other misconduct of an adverse party. 
  4. Any other reason justifying relief from the operation of the judgment or order. (Rule 4:50-1(f)).

The courts want the litigants, the spouses, the adverse sides to participate in the litigation so that the fairest outcome can be obtained when all of the infomation has been exchanged and attempts to resolve the issues have been made. When a judgment, order or default prevents that, one party could be robbed of their chance to obtain justice. Do not let this happen to you. 

Why is it important to vacate a default in New Jersey? 

New Jersey is an equitable distribution State, meaning, assets and debts acquired during the marriage are not automatically divided equally. If you cannot participate in how the assets and debts are divided, you could lose a substantial amount of money. At the default or proof hearing, you can only cross examine and you cannot present your own witnesses. In short, you are really at the mercy of the court and the one sided story being presented to that Judge. Don't do it! Also, you may be entitled to alimony, child support, child custody, parenting time and other relief that requires your input. You cannot provide input if the courtroom doors are closed for you! You need to open those courtroom doors and you can do it by answering your divorce complaint on time or vacating any defaults you have against you immediately! 

Why is it important to vacate a New Jersey Court Order?

A court order has a lot of power. A court order is issued after a motion has been filed, served and whether it is argued in court or the Judge makes a decision without any arguments in open court. Either way, if you missed your chance to respond to motion papers or a court application and a New Jersey Court Order has been issued, you need to move fast before that person who has the order against you can begin to enforce the court order and take your wages, property, etc. The court order can involve money, parenting time, child custody, etc. Whatever the order is, you should vacate it if it will affect you. Turning a blind eye to a court order, will not end well for you. 

So if you have been served with divorce papers, family court summons/motion papers, family court application papers, you should contact us today to discuss your case and see how we can help you in New Jersey Family Court. Contact us today on 973-337-9643 in our Jersey City Office. 

 

 

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