As with most legal matters, responding to a divorce petition is important to preserve your rights. You must respond within the allotted time frame and address all the points required. Unless you are accepting all your Florida spouse’s demands, you need to address each point carefully when you respond to the petition and prepare to start the divorce process.
Since the divorce petition is a legal document used to begin a legal process, the timing of the response will matter. Usually, the respondent, or the person who is served the petition by the spouse who is filing for divorce will have about 3 weeks to provide an answer. If an official response is not received within this timeframe, the rights of the respondent to present their position on divorce matters such as the division of assets and child custody might be lost. In some cases, this will result in a default judgment that says the respondent agrees with all the divorce on the terms provided by the spouse who files. While the respondent might be able to petition the court to set aside this judgment, the burden of proof for an acceptable reason will be on the defendant.
Focus on the details
The details of the response to the divorce petition are very important. When the respondent provides their official answer to the divorce petition, they should include:
- Acknowledgement of the receipt of the divorce petition
- Intent to agree or disagree with the terms provided in the petition
- Their own position on the terms of the divorce
- Agreement or disagreement with information provided in the petition about the spouses and their marriage
While responding to the petition lets the court know your own position regarding the divorce, you should not use it to argue specific legal points. Instead, you should prepare for negotiations or litigation to do this.