What Happens If I Miss My Divorce Court Date in Arizona?
Even if you and your spouse both want to file for divorce, you will likely still end up in court to discuss the details of dividing your assets and your debts. At the very least, you will go through mediation. If you try to take on this task yourself, without the help of an experienced divorce lawyer in Mesa, you run the risk of losing assets to which you are entitled or of assuming more of the marital debt than you should.
If you go to court, your lawyer in Mesa will argue on your behalf to help you get the best outcome possible to maintain your quality of life and ensure an equitable division. It is essential that you show up to every court date that is set for your case. If you don’t, it could be interpreted as you forfeiting your rights. You also give up your ability to speak on your behalf.
Unfortunately, sometimes it can’t be helped that you have to miss a court date. You might become seriously ill or injured in an accident, for example. What happens in these cases? Turns out that there’s legal precedent.
Muzyka v. Herko: Missed Court Date for Divorce
A couple filed for divorce in Arizona in 2007, but the proceedings dragged on for several years. In 2010, the man was in a serious car accident, and he wasn’t able to return to Arizona to attend court. He submitted two letters from neurologists as proof of his inability to travel when requesting a continuation for the trial.
Ultimately, the court denied the request for a continuation, but it did grant him the right to participate in the trial by phone. On the first day, the man called in and participated in the trial during the morning. However, the court recessed for lunch, and the man did not call back when proceedings resumed in the afternoon. A person identifying themselves as a physician’s assistant called on the man’s behalf and said that the man would not be calling in, but the physician’s assistant did not provide a reason or any additional information. He hung up promptly.
The judge in that case decided to continue without the man and issued a final ruling. The man filed a request for a new trial, but that request was denied. He appealed all the way to the Arizona Court of Appeals, but his appeals were denied.
The Court of Appeals noted several issues when denying the man’s appeal. First, it pointed out that the divorce case had already dragged on for five years, so continuing to prolong it would have been unwise and unnecessary.
Next, it pointed out that the letters provided by the neurologists did not provide all necessary information and that when the physician’s assistant called in, he did not provide the opportunity for questions or answers.
If you are going through a divorce and find that you have to miss a court date, you need to talk with your divorce lawyer about how to proceed. You will need to provide as much information as possible to justify your request, including letters or notices that show why you have to be out. You may have a medical reason, or you may have an issue of transportation or the financial means to get to court.
The judge will decide if the circumstances are justified in each case. Working with a divorce lawyer is essential since your lawyer will help you understand what justification would be warranted and what documentation would be needed. If you made a mistake, your request could be denied, and you could risk forfeiting valuable assets.
If you are ready to file for divorce, you need to contact an experienced divorce lawyer to help you through the process. My AZ Lawyers can help you. We represent clients in all types of divorce cases in Arizona, including high net-worth cases and contested divorces. We help clients navigate all aspects of the divorce, including the division of assets and debts, the awarding of child custody, and support orders for children and alimony. Contact us in Arizona today to learn more about our services or to schedule a consultation.
My AZ Lawyers
1731 West Baseline Rd., Suite #100
Mesa, AZ 85202
Office: (480) 448-9800
20325 N 51st Avenue Suite #134, Building 5
Glendale, AZ 85308
Office: (602) 509-0955
2 East Congress St., Suite #900-6A
Tucson, AZ 85701
Office: (520) 441-1450
12725 W. Indian School Rd., Ste E, #101
Avondale, AZ 85392
Office: (623) 499-4222