Divorce Summons Served: Filing Responses and Requests

If you are going through a divorce, you have probably already discussed the idea with your spouse, and are already prepared for the next step, which is the divorce summons.  The divorce summons is the official legal document that is served, or presented to you, letting you know that you have been named in a divorce court proceeding and giving you a specified amount of time to file various paperwork and responses in order to make sure that default judgment is not made against you based on your failure to respond to the proceedings.  So, ow do you go about filing the responses and answers to the various divorce summons information that you have received so that you preserve your rights in the divorce? (See also Divorce Summons Served With a Temporary Relief Petition).

Responding to a Divorce Summons

  • One of the first options that you have is to file an answer with the court where you have been placed on trial for divorce.  

The summons usually involves having a process server physically hand you the paperwork, or having the paperwork sent by certified mail, so that the court has proof that you signed for or received the paperwork. Filing an answer is typically necessary within a given time period, usually thirty to sixty days after receipt of the paperwork. Filing an answer is the most common response to a divorce proceeding, and you merely have to fill out the paperwork that was provided with the divorce documents and return it to the court in the specified time period to lodge your answer.

  • Another option that you have when faced with divorce proceedings is to file an answer as a demurrer, stating that there is insufficient cause present in the divorce paperwork for the lawsuit to proceed.  

Typically, this does not work, unless the other party has filled out the divorce paperwork themselves incorrectly, or there are some other extenuating circumstances.  If you file as the demurrer, you will need to state specific reasons why you feel that the paperwork is insufficient, and you will need to provide the missing information that you feel causes the divorce case to be invalid.        

  • One final option that you have when faced with a divorce summons is to file either a motion to quash, where you are alleging that the method of serving the papers was done incorrectly, or a motion to strike, where you are asking the court to remove certain wording from the paperwork that you feel is incorrect before you will agree to answer the charges and appear in court.

Getting Help

When you receive divorce papers, you should strongly consider contacting a lawyer. Your attorney can help you to respond appropriately to the paperwork in a manner that best preserves your legal rights. 

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