How to Answer a Divorce Complaint

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					How to Answer a Divorce Complaint
If you were served with a divorce complaint, it's important to file a
response (in legal language, an "answer") with the court in a timely
fashion. It may be best to hire a divorce lawyer if you can afford one,
especially if you are contesting several issues. However, you may be able
to answer a divorce complaint on your own depending on your marital
1Read through the complaint and summons in the divorce. These should
indicate how many days you have before you must file an answer with the
court, usually between 20 and 30 days.<If you don't answer the divorce,
you won't be able to participate in proceedings. Most likely, the judge
will enter a default judgment and award your spouse everything he or she
has asked for in the petition.

2Access your state divorce laws or any court procedure documents to find
out how a divorce procedure in your jurisdiction works.
3Find divorce answer forms at the county court in which the divorce was
filed. You may be able to download them online or get a form faxed or
mailed to you. Oftentimes, the forms come with instructions.Most
jurisdictions have divorce forms for 2 different categories: with
children and without children.

4Review the complaint point by point and highlight any inaccuracies as
part of your answer. Go through the document and agree or disagree with
each paragraph listed in the complaint.
5Consider making your own demands in your answer, including provisions
about health insurance, custody and visitation, spousal support and how
you want property, debts and income divided.If you agree with all the
provisions your spouse asks for and aren't looking for anything in
return, then indicate that in your answer. The case will proceed then as
an uncontested divorce.

6Write your name, phone number and address at the bottom of your answer
and sign it.
7Fill in the "Certificate of Service" with the name and address of your
spouse or his or her lawyer -- whomever will be served with the answer.
8Complete any other documents that apply to your divorce proceeding.
These may include a financial affidavit; dependent information; a
parenting plan that deals with custody and visitation issues; an asset
sheet that lists both marital and separate property; and debts.
9Make 3 photocopies of your answer and 3 copies each of any accompanying
10Mail a copy to your spouse or his or her lawyer. Ask the court whether
to send the answer as certified mail, as the requirements in each
jurisdiction differ.
11Take the other 2 copies to court along with the original divorce
complaint. Get all of your copies date-stamped and have 1 set returned to
you. Keep your copy in a safe place you can access easily.<

Notify your spouse's lawyer or the court if you change your address so
you can will continue to receive notices of court hearings.
When you file answer with the court, you can request that your name be
restored to what it was before your marriage if you changed it.

<Related wikiHows
How to Answer a Legal Complaint
How to Divorce As Peacefully As Possible
How to Deal With Divorce and Depression
How to Choose the Right Divorce Lawyer
How to Handle Divorce Anger

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