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Definition of Default Judgment

A default judgment is awarded if a defendant in a lawsuit fails to respond to a complaint within a specified timeframe, generally 30 days. For instance, if the petition or complaint asked for a response within 30 days on the 31 day if the defendant did not respond the plaintiff could ask for a default judgment. Under some conditions if the defendant fails to answer the complaint the default may be set aside if the defendant can demonstrate a legitimate excuse and a good defense to the lawsuit.

Under a default judgment the court can grant the petitioner all reasonable requests within their complaint. For instance, a lien may be placed on property or a divorce may be granted. If you have received a complaint it is important to talk to a lawyer about how to respond. Complaints do not go away and if you fail to respond you can expect a default judgment which may force you to liable for certain payments.

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