As reported by TMZ, Brad Pitt has failed to file his answer with the L.A. Superior Court in response to Angelina Jolie's application for a divorce, custody, support, and other claims. It appears that Brad has intentionally missed the deadline, claiming that a contentious legal battle may harm the children.
Although the couple appear to agree that settlement would be preferable to litigation, and it's clear that both parents are considering the best interests of the children, not responding to Angelina's application could have serious consequences for Brad. Although Angelina is currently claiming she won't proceed to obtain a default judgment, she is in the position to apply for one since Brad has missed his deadline. The consequences of being noted in default could negatively impact Brad's claim if the matter does end up proceeding to litigation.
In Ontario, according to the Family Law Rules, a person who is served with an Application has 30 days from the date they were served to serve and file their Answer with the Court. A respondent can seek the permission of the Court or the consent of the other party to file an Answer after this 30 day period has expired. However, if a respondent does not serve and file an Answer, they are no longer entitled to further notice of the steps in the case (with the exception of the requirement of service of an Order) and are no longer entitled to participate in the case. Further, the Court may proceed to deal with the case in the respondent's absence, and the matter may proceed to an uncontested trial of the case. Accordingly, it is essential that family law litigants pay close attention to service and filing deadlines, or they risk being subject to an Order of the Court made without consideration of their evidence.