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Request a Default Judgment by Court

Ask the Court to Find in Your Favor because the Other Side Didn't Show Up

A defendant has 30 days from the date he or she is personally served with your summons and complaint to file a written response (California Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) § 412.20(a) (3)). The end of the 30 days is not an automatic cut-off; the court will still accept a response from the defendant after 30 days, unless the plaintiff files a request for default. Once a default is entered, the defendant is no longer able to file a response or otherwise participate in the case. When the default is entered, you may also ask the court to enter a judgment in your favor. 

You must request a default judgment by the court, rather than a default judgment by the clerk, if a judge needs to rule on any issue raised in your complaint. Default judgments by the clerk are available under limited circumstances, such as in a breach of contract case where the monetary amount desired is specified in the complaint. See the Step-by-Step guide on "Request a Default Judgment by the Clerk" on our website at for more information.


The Judicial Council forms commonly used in this procedure are:

In addition, one relevant document must be typed on 28-line pleading paper. A customizable template may be downloaded from this link:

Click below to download this guide, with step-by-step instructions and sample forms:

 Request a Default Judgment by Court Step by Step

revised 8/2014 mpj