What is a default divorce?

Divorce actions involve the issues of dividing property in a fair and equitable manner, child custody and visitation, child support and spousal support. The party beginning the divorce, the Petitioner, files a Petition for Divorce and issues a Summons on the opposing party, the Respondent. When the Respondent fails to plead or otherwise respond to the Petition for Divorce and Summons served upon him or her, the Respondent is in default.

The Petitioner must then request that a default judgment be made. Prior to the Court entering a default judgment, the Petitioner must file an affidavit or state in the Petition that the Respondent either a) is not in the military service of the United States; b) is in the military service; or c) or that the Petitioner does not know if the Respondent is in the military service.

The federal statutes define "military service" as federal service on active duty including the period during which a person in the military service is absent from duty due to sickness, wounds, leave, or other lawful cause. If the Respondent is in the military at the time of default, then federal statutes prohibit the entry of default until after the Court has appointed an attorney to him or her. Additionally, if the party in the military requests a stay, the Court must grant the stay and will be otherwise unable to enter a judgment of default.

Once a default judgment has been entered, a default hearing is held to determine the issues of the divorce after the Respondent has failed to make any sort of appearance in the case. No further notice of the proceedings to the Respondent is necessary in a default divorce; the service of the Petition and the Summons is enough notice that a final judgment may be entered.

However, one exception applies to this rule: if the Respondent has appeared or appeared by representation at any time in the divorce action, the Respondent or Respondent’s counsel must be served with the written request for a default judgment at least seven days before the hearing. Typically, the parties are divorced after the Court grants an Order from the default hearing.

If you are served with a Petition for Divorce and a Summons, be sure to consult with an attorney as quickly as possible to avoid having a default judgment entered against you.



Summer Dierks


How much child support should I expect to receive/pay for the benefit of my child?

            One of the most common legal issues facing people is not only who gets custody of the child, but also how much one parent will have to pay to the other parent in support. Child support can seem like a complicated equation, however, child support calculations in Kansas have been simplified and the rules governing support have largely become uniform.

            Child support calculations are based off of the Kansas Child Support Guidelines. These guidelines, put out by the Kansas Supreme Court, make it so that every child in set age brackets, by default, requires a certain amount of money to raise that child. This amount is set by statute and does not fluctuate based on the individuals involved, only by the income involved. The amount necessary to support the child is then divided based on the parties’ proportional incomes. For an example if Mom makes 60% of the household income and Dad makes 40%, then Mom would be responsible for 60% of the base cost and Dad would be responsible for 40%.

            Child support is calculated on what is called a “child support worksheet.” On the worksheet, a few other variables are added to the equation of costs to raise the child. This step is where the individual facts of your case will come into play. In order to complete the worksheet, we would need your gross income and the other party’s gross income, along with a couple of other easy-to-discover variables such as health insurance costs, daycare expenses, and who claims the child on their taxes. From this information, we would be able to figure out the amount of support that needs to be paid.

            Child support is calculated to help with the cost of raising the child and is considered under a standard of “best interest of the child.” As a result of this standard, courts are hesitant to allow much deviation from the worksheet because the State has determined that the formula used is presumed to be in the best interest of the child. Similarly, waiver of child support can present unique problems because it acts as a parent waiving money that is meant for the child and presumed to be in the child’s best interest. As a result, if the parents have come to an agreement to waive future child support, then the parents must be prepared to justify why no future support is in the best interest of the child.

            While the form and calculation itself has been simplified, the legal process of modifying, or establishing, child support still requires access to the Court system and the filing of various Court documents along the way. So, while you can be prepared by knowing how much child support will likely be ordered, we still recommend hiring an attorney to complete the legal process alongside you.


Trey Bryant, Associate

Trey recently joined our team and is licensed to practice law in the State of Colorado.  Trey graduated from Kansas State University in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science in Political Science, a Bachelor of Science in Legal Communication and a minor in Women's Studies. Trey earned his Juris Doctor from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 2017. Trey intends to focus his practice on Appeals,Civil Litigation, Family Law, Landlord-tenant Law and Contracts.