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Separation and divorce

Default judgments, or how to get a divorce when your ex doesn’t respond to your divorce application

Have you sent a divorce application to your ex, and they haven’t answered? If so, you may be able to apply for a “default judgment” so that a judge can rule on your divorce in your ex’s absence. Read on to see how it’s done.

1) Be sure you meet the criteria for applying for a default judgment

To obtain a default judgment, you have to be in the following situation:

  • You have sent a divorce application to your ex by bailiff. This means that the document has been “served” on your ex. In some cases – for example, if you don’t know your ex’s address – you can be authorized to send your application in another way (e.g., by public notice in a newspaper ).

  • Your ex has not sent an official answer within the prescribed deadline. The deadline is usually 15 days after receipt of the divorce application.

Are you and your ex in negotiations?

In this case, it might be preferable to tell your ex that you’re going to apply for a default judgment. If you don’t, your ex can ask the judge for a “revocation of judgment” to cancel the judgment rendered in your ex’s absence.

2) Prepare the required documents and file them at the courthouse

To apply for a default judgment, you have to prepare certain documents and file them at the courthouse.

Here is a list of the documents:

You can use the form from the Ministère de la Justice du Québec.


Application to Have a Case Set Down for Judgment by Default (SJ-1102A) (Justice Québec)

You can use the form from the Ministère de la Justice du Québec.


Affidavit (SJ-1139A)  (Justice Québec)

Your affidavit must be signed before a Commissioner for Oaths or another person authorized to administer oaths.

Where can I find a commissioner for oaths or a person authorized to administer an oath?

Your affidavit must be signed before a commissioner for oaths or any other person authorized to administer oaths. You can find people who can do this in the following places:

You can also find a Commissioner for Oaths by using the search engine provided by the Ministère de la Justice du Québec.

A fee of $5 per siganture may be charged.

This is a document that the bailiff prepares after serving the document on your ex. If you were authorized to send the application other than by bailiff (e.g., by public notice in a newspaper ), your evidence might be different.

Even if your ex is absent, you’ll still have to prove to the judge that you’re entitled to what you’re asking for. Therefore, you might have to submit written or physical evidence – also referred to as “exhibits” (e.g., invoices, pay stubs, etc.).

A notice of presentation specifying the date on which the application will be presented before the court isn’t always necessary.

Ask at the courthouse to find out whether you need to provide a notice of presentation and, if so, to obtain the right model.

3) Summon your witnesses, if necessary

Because you’ll have to present evidence before the judge, you may need to call people to testify at the hearing. If so, you have to summon the witnesses to be sure they attend on the day of the hearing.

4) Present your application to the judge

As a general rule, you have to present your application for a judgment by default before a judge at a hearing. At the same time, you’ll have the opportunity to present your witnesses and any other evidence you’ve filed in support of your application.

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Please note

In some cases, the judge might choose not to convene you to a hearing and to render a decision based on the documents you’ve filed at the courthouse.

5) Wait for your divorce judgment

Once the final hearing is over, the judge can decide to render judgment immediately or defer the decision. If the decision isn’t rendered right away, it’s said that the judge “takes the case under advisement”.

When the case is taken under advisement, the judge has one month to render judgment.


The information presented on this page is not a legal opinion or legal advice. This page explains in a general way the law that applies in Quebec. To obtain a legal opinion or legal advice on your personal situation, consult a legal professional.

New on JuridiQC!

Joint Divorce Help Tool

Free and easy to use, JuridiQC’s help tool assists married couples who don’t have children together as they prepare their joint divorce application. From filling out documents to filing them at the courthouse, we provide step-by-step guidance.