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What Happens if You Do Not Answer a Divorce Petition?

Have you been served divorce papers? You now know that your spouse has officially petitioned the courts for a divorce. The courts require a prompt response to the petition. Some people think that if they do not respond to the papers the divorce cannot go forward, and they can simply forget about it.

Unfortunately, that is not the case. In fact, it can put you at a serious disadvantage. If you fail to file your response, called an Answer, within thirty days the court may award your spouse all of the relief they are seeking in their complaint.

The matters might include the following:

  • Child support
  • Child custody
  • Division of property
  • Spousal support/alimony
  • Attorney’s fees

The petitioning spouse may request any number of things from the court. If the responding spouse fails to file an Answer and refuses to acknowledge the divorce papers then the judge can find the party to be in default. The responding spouse will be bound to abide by all the terms of the order of the Court even if they didn’t appear in court.

Understandably, as in any legal matter, you will want to do all that you can to protect yourself and your interests. The moment you receive divorce papers, you should retain legal counsel from a Charleston divorce lawyer to advocate for you.

What Is Included in the Answer?

The responding spouse will either admit or deny each of the allegations made in the plaintiff’s Complaint. The responding spouse may also want to include a Counterclaim, asking for his own relief from the court. An Answer and Counterclaim will address all of the issues raised in the Complaint and may raise new issues such as grounds for divorce, custody, child support, alimony, attorney’s fees, and restraining orders.

Have Questions? Contact Us!

At Shaw Law Firm, LLC, our Charleston divorce attorney prides herself on providing compassionate legal counsel that is practical and cost effective. Family law is complex and divorce is a stressful and daunting time for all involved. We are ready to help you make the right decisions and help you resolve the case on your terms.

Call us at (843) 256-3499 to request your free consultation.

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