6 Things to Know when Responding to Divorce Papers
After being served with divorce papers, you may feel overwhelmed, stressed out or just simply confused about what to do next. While you can, of course, do nothing and let your partner move forward with the divorce, taking action ASAP can be essential to protecting your interests and resolving the divorce as favorably as possible.
This two-part blog series will point out some of the facts you should be aware of when it comes to responding to divorce papers/complaints. While the discussion herein presents some important info, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced Las Vegas divorce attorney at RIGHT Lawyers when you need answers specific to your situation – and when you want the best Nevada divorce representation.
This is because, if you don’t file a response within the designated time frame, the court may enter a Default against you, permitting your ex to receive everything (s)he asked for in his or her divorce complaint.
This is where reading the divorce papers you have been served will be essential. These papers should outline everything your ex is requesting. If, after reading these papers, you don’t disagree with any of the requests, then doing nothing may be a viable option (however, it’s best to confirm this with a lawyer to ensure you aren’t giving away/up certain rights/interests).
If, however, you disagree with even one aspect of your ex’s requests in the divorce papers, you must file a response to note this disagreement with the court.
This is crucial to know, as you will ONLY have 20 calendar days (consecutive days; not just business days) to complete and file your response to divorce papers. Here, you should be aware that:
- Extensions of this time frame may be granted (as long as you complete/submit a Declaration and Order to Extend the Time to Answer with the court).
- These time frames do not necessarily apply to active military members (see our Military Divorce page for more info related to these special types of divorce cases).
In particular, the forms that will need to be completed in order to officially respond to the divorce case will be the following:
- The Answer to the Divorce (or the Counterclaim to the Divorce)
- The Financial Disclosure Form (FDF)
- The Joint Preliminary Injunction (only in the event that your partner has not already filed this form with the court).
Some of these forms may have special instructions and may require the submission of supporting documentation (such as, for instance, paystubs with the FDF form).
In other words, in responding to divorce papers, you have two options:
- Answering the complaint, which will involve explaining what parts of the complaint you agree versus disagree with. This basically outlines the issues that are in dispute regarding your divorce.
- Filing a Counterclaim, which will provide you with the opportunity to detail what you specifically want from the divorce (rather than just responding to what your partner wanted in the complaint).
What the better option for you is will depend on the specifics of your situation, and a Las Vegas divorce attorney at RIGHT Lawyers can help you figure out what may be preferable, based on your circumstances and needs.
Once you’ve assembled your response to the divorce complaint, you can file your response:
- In person at court – This will be done at the Clerk’s Office, which is open Monday through Friday (and closes at 4pm).
- By mail – In which case, the complaint should be mailed to the specific address of the court in your jurisdiction (and to the attention of the Clerk of the Court).
- Online via the court’s e-filing system (which may be associated with some additional, nominal fees).
Please note that, when you are ready to file your response, you will have to submit it with the filing fee, which is $212. Waivers may be available for those who cannot afford the filing fees.
Filing your response with the court is NOT the last step in the process of responding to a divorce complaint. You will still have to make sure that your ex is served with a copy of your response filings, and you should be aware that the court will NOT do this for you.
Here, we also want to note that:
- You are not required to send the copies of your response via certified mail.
- If your partner has a lawyer who is registered with the court system, the court system may be able to send an electronic copy of the documents to that lawyer. Be sure to check with the Clerk’s Office about this.
- Once you have served your partner with your response, complete a Certificate of Service form and submit it to the court (to verify you have completed this step of the process).