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What Are Your Options for Responding to a Divorce Order in California?

Last updated 4 years ago

If your spouse serves you with a summons and petition, you become the respondent in your divorce or legal separation case. In the paperwork you receive, the Petition will explain what your spouse is requesting and the Summons will outline your rights during the divorce process. Once you receive the summons and petition, you should consult a San Jose divorce lawyer about your possible response options.

Do nothing
Not responding to the summons will result in a “true default,” as you are giving up your rights in your divorce case. If you choose this option, your spouse will likely receive everything he or she requested in the Petition. This is because a judge will only be able to make decisions regarding property, support, and custody based on the information your spouse has provided in the Petition. However, if you already have a notarized agreement to end your marriage with your spouse, then you will be able to influence your case, even if you choose not to respond.

Reach agreement with your spouse
Your divorce case is considered “uncontested” if you and your spouse aren’t fighting over the issues. As a result, you can reach an agreement with your spouse and still file a response with the court. In an uncontested case, you agree to the terms of your divorce or legal separation agreement.

File a response in disagreement
If you don’t agree with the terms in the Petition, you can file a response with the court. In this case, your situation will be considered “contested,” since the court system will ultimately need to decide your case. The deadline to file a response in California is 30 days from the date you received your Summons and Petition.

At Moreno Family Law, our divorce lawyers believe in settlement and encouraging compromise outside of court. However, we are also ready to litigate on your clients’ behalf. To schedule a consultation with a San Jose divorce lawyer, please call our law office at (408) 266-9011.


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