Table of Contents:
Caption your answer the same as the divorce complaint with the name of the court, name of the parties and the civil action number. Title the document "Answer" or "Answer and Counterclaim" if you intend also to file a counterclaim.
Answer each and every paragraph of the allegations set forth in the complaint for divorce with a separate sentence in your answer. You may answer the allegations by admitting, denying, claiming not enough information to admit or deny or indicating that the allegation is partly true.
Assert any reasons that you feel the divorce should not be granted at the end of the answer section. This refers to legal reasons only, such as that a divorce was already granted in another jurisdiction or the court does not have jurisdiction to grant the divorce.
Complete a counterclaim section if you wish to make counterclaims. In this section you are the petitioner and your spouse the respondent.
Provide a service of process paragraph attesting that you will serve the answer on your spouse. You can use the service of process paragraph found on the complaint as an example. Sign the document.
Make several copies of the document. File the document with the clerk of court where the complaint was filed. The clerk provides you with file-stamped copies for your records. Send one copy to your spouse via certified mail.
Review each claim made by the petitioner; each claim will be numbered and clearly defined. Some claims simply list the names of you and your spouse and the location of your marriage, while other claims regard disputable terms like property division.
Determine whether you want to answer the petition. If you agree on all the claims and terms set forth by the petitioner, there is no need to answer and you can simply be granted a default divorce.
Hire a lawyer if you are uncomfortable with legal procedures and there are several areas of the petition that you wish to dispute. Lawyers are familiar with legal jargon and can guide you through the procedures for answering the petition in a professional manner.
Indicate your response to each numbered claim of the petition by choosing "admitted," "denied" or "neither admitted nor denied." If you choose "denied" or "neither admitted nor denied," then you will need to provide a statement supporting your reasons for denial. This is your chance to set your own requests for each term set forth by the petitioner.
Type your responses in the same format as the petition; be sure to include an answer for each section. In some cases, the petition packet may include an answer sheet where you can check a box to admit or deny a term and then fill in a blank with your responses.
Mail in your response to the courthouse where the petition for divorce was filed by your spouse. If you are short on time, you can deliver the answer by hand.
File your response in a timely manner to ensure that the judge will hear your responses. You have 21 days to file your answer if it was delivered by a process server; you have 28 days to file your answer if you received the petition by certified mail.