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Finding Legal Help

You are not required to hire an attorney, but legal matters can be complicated. Consider talking to an attorney to go over your options. See the Finding Legal Help page for information about free and low cost ways to get legal help. 

Como encontrar ayuda legal

Usted no está obligado a contratar un abogado, pero los asuntos legales pueden ser complicados. Considere la posibilidad de hablar con un abogado para hablar de sus opciones. Para información sobre cómo obtener ayuda legal vea nuestra página Como encontrar ayuda legal.

Default Judgments

What is a default judgment?

Default means a party has not done what is required of them in the time allowed. For example, a defendant (or respondent) did not file an answer to a complaint within the required time, or a plaintiff (or petitioner) did not answer a counterclaim within the required time.

A default judgment is the court order entered against the party who defaulted.

Steps in the default judgment process

These are the steps to ask for a default judgment:

Step 1 - Serve the other party with the complaint and summons

Have the other party served the complaint or petition and a summons. The summons requires the other party to answer the complaint or petition within a certain amount of time.

You must have the documents served correctly or the court might not process your default papers.

Utah Rule of Civil Procedure 4.

Step 2 – Wait for the other party to respond

The other party has a limited amount of time to respond by filing an answer (or another document) with the court. They must also deliver a copy to you.

If the other party is served in Utah, they have 21 days from when they were served to answer. If the other party is served outside Utah, they have 30 days to answer. If the case is for eviction the defendant has 3 days to answer.

Step 3 - File the required forms with the court to ask for a default judgment

If the other party has not filed an answer or other responsive pleading within the time allowed, file the required forms to ask for a default judgment:

  • Default Certificate - PDF | Word
    Do not sign – the court signs.
  • Motion for Default Judgment - PDF | Word
  • Military Service Declaration - PDF | Word

People in military service have special protections against default judgments in civil cases. Military service means:

  • active duty in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard, or
  • called to active service in the reserves or National Guard, or
  • active service of a commissioned officer of the Public Health Service or National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

50 U.S.C. §3911.

You can verify an individual's military status by visiting the SCRA website.

If the other party is in military service or you do not know, the process will be different. For more information, see our page on Lawsuits Involving Military Service Members.

  • Military Service Order - PDF | Word
  • Request to Submit for Decision
  • Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law
    This must match the complaint or petition. If you are using a court form, use the form and follow the instructions provided in that section of the website.
  • Order, decree or judgment

This must match the complaint or petition. If you are using a court form, use the form and follow the instructions provided in that section of the website.

The order submitted to the court for the judge's signature must match the complaint (or petition) exactly. The judge cannot make any findings or order anything not requested in the complaint (or petition).

Step 4 – Notify the defaulted party of the judgment

After the judge signs the order or judgment, serve a copy of it and a Notice of Judgment on the other parties in the case, including the defaulting party.

Small Claims

Everything on this web page also applies in small claims cases, except that in small claims cases the defendant does not file an answer. The defendant defaults by not appearing at the trial. In small claims cases, the plaintiff can bring the forms to ask for a default judgment to the trial, to be ready in case the defendant does not appear. The plaintiff can also file the forms to ask for a default judgment after the trial date.

Asking to set aside a default or judgment

A Motion to Set Aside Default or Judgment is used to ask the court to set aside or "undo" a default, judgment or final order in a case, and to allow the case to move ahead as if the default or judgment had not been made. A military service member has special rights to set aside a default judgment. See the Motion to Set Aside Default or Judgment web page for more information and forms.

Forms


Default Judgment


Required Forms
  • Default Certificate - PDF | Word
  • Military Service Declaration - PDF | Word
  • Military Service Order - PDF | Word
  • Motion for Default Judgment - PDF | Word
  • Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Order
    (This must match the complaint or petition. If you are using a court form, use the form and follow the instructions provided in that section of the website.)
  • Request to Submit for Decision - PDF | Word
  • Notice of Judgment - PDF | Word
Optional forms
  • Proof of Service
    If you have not already filed proof of proper service with the court.

Military Service Declaration and Order

  • Military Service Declaration - PDF | Word
  • Military Service Order - PDF | Word

Related Information

The Utah State Courts mission is to provide the people an open, fair, efficient, and independent system for the advancement of justice under the law.


Page Last Modified: 2/11/2020
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