What Does Entry of Judgment in a Divorce in California Mean?

By Victoria McGrath

The term "entry of judgment" refers to a court order being entered after the judge rules on a case. In a divorce case, the judge orders a dissolution of the marriage, property division, child custody and support, visitation schedules, spousal support, attorney's fees and any other pertinent issues. The court order contains the judge's ruling on each issue. The attorney or self-represented party submits the judgment and supporting documents to the court clerk to enter. The court clerk enters this court order as a judgment.

Court Order and Entry of Judgment

When you file for divorce and the court hears the case, the court orders a final dissolution of the marriage. The final orders for dissolution are recorded in a legal document and signed by the judge. In California, the actual entry of judgment generally occurs days later by a family law clerk in the court clerk's office. Therefore, the judgment often contains two dates: the date the judge ordered the final dissolution of marriage and signed the judgment and the date the clerk entered the judgment. The divorce takes effect on the date the judge signs the judgment. However, it is not finalized until a court clerk enters the judgment and issues a Notice of Entry of Judgment.

Notice of Entry of Judgement

In each divorce case, the filing party must file a Notice of Entry of Judgement at the same time as the judgment and accompanying attachments. The filing party also provides two envelopes, with prepaid postage, addressed to each party. Once the court clerk's office enters the judgement and Notice of Entry of Judgment, it mails a copy to each party. The Notice of Entry of Judgment informs each party that the court entered a judgment in the case. The date on the Notice of Entry of Judgment determines the time for appeal. Appeals must generally be filed within 60 days of receipt of the notice, or within 180 days after the judgement issued without receipt of a Notice of Entry of Judgment.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Types of Judgment to Be Entered

An entry of judgment often requires other supporting documents, in addition to the judgment and Notice of Entry of Judgment. The additional documents vary based on the type of case. California divorce cases include "status only judgment" cases, as well as uncontested, default and true default cases. In a status only judgment case, the only issue the court resolves is the dissolution, without property division or child custody. An uncontested divorce means both parties appear and submit a written agreement to the court. Default cases include a written agreement without a filed response. A true default case lacks both a written agreement and a response. Your local family court should have a checklist detailing the required documents to file a judgment in each type of case.

Checklist for Entry of Judgment

The court has a checklist that outlines the additional documents that an attorney, mediator or self-represented party needs to file with the court for an entry of judgment. For example, in default or true default cases, the judgment must be filed with a proof or service, to prove the other party had notice of the pending legal action. The court cannot enter a default judgment if the filing party fails to produce adequate evidence that the other party knew of the case filed against him. Otherwise, the other party would be denied his constitutional rights to be heard on the matter.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
What Does "Enter a Decree" Mean for a Divorce?


Related articles

How to File a Motion to Remove a Judge in a Divorce Case in Connecticut

Judges are randomly assigned to a case by the clerk of the court and are required to be fair and impartial. However, in certain circumstances, it may be necessary to seek the disqualification of an assigned magistrate presiding over divorce proceedings. The Connecticut Code of Judicial Conduct sets forth circumstances in which a judge may be disqualified from service, including bias, prejudice, having a familial or monetary interest in the case, or hearing the same divorce proceeding after the judge's decision was overturned on appeal. To seek a judge's removal, you must file a motion with the court.

Uncontested Divorce in Texas

An uncontested divorce in Texas allows a married couple to end the union legally and on mutually agreed terms. Texas divorces are handled through the district court of the county of at least one spouse's residence. One of the parties in the divorce must have been a Texas resident for at least six months in a row and lived in the filing county for at least 90 days before seeking a divorce in the Texas court.

How to Get a Certified Divorce Judgment

Getting a divorce can be painful and difficult; getting a certified divorce judgment is a piece of cake. A certified divorce judgment is simply a copy of the official document that the court clerk marks with a seal to indicate its authenticity. The procedures vary slightly among jurisdictions but generally involve making the request and paying a fee.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

What Is a Correct Date of Divorce: the Date of Filing or Date of Judgment of the Divorce?

A divorce typically includes four important legal dates: the date of separation from the other spouse, the date of ...

How to File a Motion for Contempt in a Divorce Case

The battles in your divorce case don't always end when the judge rules on the last open issue. You may find yourself ...

What Would Hold Up an Uncontested Divorce?

Uncontested divorces range from simple cases without children and marital assets to complicated cases with custody ...

Instructions for Handling a Summons & Complaint

When a person is sued, he is served with a summons and complaint. A summons is a court form that provides basic ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED