Filings Which Start the Divorce Case

Filings Which Start the Divorce Case

Complaint for Divorce

Complaint for Divorce: One party must file a “Complaint for Divorce” to begin the case. The Complaint will ask the court for a divorce, state the grounds for divorce, address issues in the case and inform the court what the party is seeking in the way of relief. It is generally required to be filed in the county where your spouse resides and must be served upon the opposing party. To be legally sufficient, there are legal requirements that must be shown and requested in the Complaint.

The Complaint must also be verified. Meaning the party bringing the Complaint must take an oath to the facts listed in the Complaint, must sign it under oath, and have it notarized.

Answering a Complaint for Divorce: A party who has been served with a divorce must file an “Answer and Defenses” to the Complaint within 30 days. The Answer is your response to the opposing party’s Complaint. Defenses (if you assert any) to the Complaint may be waived if not addressed in the first responsive pleading. A party is permitted to file a Counterclaim for Divorce in their Answer. This is where the Defendant can assert grounds for divorce and may also request relief against the opposing party. The quick deadlines require you seek an experienced attorney immediately upon service of the Complaint.

Failure to respond to a Complaint for Divorce: In the event a party fails to respond to the Complaint for Divorce, they can forever waive legal defenses they may have. Further, a lack of response opens that party to a final judgment without their participation or knowledge. A court is authorized to grant a final judgment on all divorce issues (child custody, visitation, child support, asset and debt division, alimony, and attorney fees) even in the absence of participation by one of the parties.