Answer to Complaint for Divorce
What do I do if I have been served with a Complaint for Divorce?
If you have been served with a complaint for divorce, you will need to file an Answer in response. The answer to the divorce complaint is the defensive pleading in a divorce action. Essentially, the answer is the defendant's response to the plaintiff's complaint or petition for divorce. The purpose of the answer is to respond to the plaintiff's allegations that were listed in the complaint for divorce. In the answer, the defendant must also assert any defenses or counterclaims they may have against the plaintiff. The answer may either be prepared and filed by the defendant or prepared and filed by the defendant's attorney. It is important to timely respond to a complaint for divorce. Do not ignore it. A defendant has only 30 days in which to file an answer with the court upon being served with the complaint and summons. If the defendant fails to file an answer, he or she may be subject to penalties.
Counterclaims in the Answer
What are counterclaims? In the context of the complaint for divorce and the corresponding answer, counterclaims are claims asserted in the answer that are made in response to claims the plaintiff made in the complaint for divorce. Counterclaims protect the interests of the defendant by giving them an opportunity to rebut a claim made by their former spouse and instead offer their own claim. Counterclaims must be listed in the answer to the complaint for divorce.
Defenses in the Answer
The complaint for divorce may include allegations in it that you disagree with or that you may have a valid legal defense to. Assert any defenses you might have in the answer. Make sure that you and your lawyer carefully read the complaint for divorce and respond to each allegation. For some of these allegations, you may have a defense. For example, if your spouse alleged adultery in the complaint, you could assert the defense of condonation if your spouse knew about it and forgave it.