How do I respond to a divorce summons?
One of the things many people ask about, is how to respond to a divorce summons. When you receive a Summon and Complaint in a divorce action, you have about 20 days to respond to it. Your response, is known as the answer. If you have hired a divorce lawyer to work for you – then he, or she, can prepare and file the answer based on the information you provide. You can file the answer on your own, but it’s suggested you hire an attorney.
First, you should contact your local family court to obtain copies of the response forms. Some have them online, and for some you have to come in person to pick them up. After getting the forms, you have to answer the claims made by the Plaintiff. For each item, you have to either admit, or deny, the claim. You should also include information about custody, and child support if you have children. If you want sole custody of the children, you’ll need to provide a breakdown of the parenting time distribution. This will explain when you want the non-custodial parent to have visitation with the children. If you think you should get child support, state + support the claim in your answer. The amount of support awarded is typically based on the income of both parties.
After this is done, deliver the papers to the county clerk. Bring 3-4 copies of the answer you have prepared with you. The clerk will stamp the copies as filed. The court will take one, for it’s own file. You should keep an additional one for your own records. If your spouse has hired an attorney, then send a copy to the attorney. If your spouse does not have an attorney, then send a copy to your spouse – with a return receipt. Alternatively, you can ask the sheriff or a private process server to serve the answer on your spouse.