What Are the Options to Respond When Receiving a Divorce Summons?

If a California marriage is heading towards divorce, the process will often begin with one spouse serving the other with a summons and petition to move forward with the process. Once the person has been served, there will be various pieces of information including restraining orders as to what could be done with assets, property, money, and debts. If there are children in the marriage, there will be an order not to move out of the state or for getting a new passport unless there is written consent. After reading and understanding this, it is imperative to know the options to respond. Having legal advice during this time is wise.

In some cases, the person is willing to end the marriage without dispute and concern over customary divorce legal issues and they do nothing. If that is the decision, then it means the judge will generally decide to grant what the petitioner requested in the filing. This is a true default divorce. In such a circumstance the recipient will not take part in the case. Another way in which a recipient will do nothing is if there was an agreement in place. This must be notarized and the couple has decided on the marital issues. It is a default since there is no response, but with the negotiation process, there is a written agreement the recipient is taking part in, so it is not a true default divorce.

The receiving spouse can file a response and reach an agreement regarding the issues in the case. This will still be an uncontested case since there is no dispute. They are agreeing to the terms. Finally, there can be a response in which the recipient disagrees with the requests from the filing spouse. This will be contested as there is no agreement and the court must decide on the case. When filing a response, there is a 30-day limit from the date in which it was served.

It is not uncommon for a marriage to fail and the couple to determine it is best to part ways. At the end of a marriage, the serving of the papers to inform the other spouse that the case is proceeding will give the receiving spouse several alternatives on how to respond. The circumstances will determine which is the best choice. Having legal help is critical regardless of the decision. A law firm that understands all areas of divorce is essential to a case.

Request a Consultation

Fields marked with an * are required

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.