How to respond to a Divorce Petition without a lawyer

A divorce petition can surprise you even if it was expected. Instead of thinking about the consequences and aftermath, you should think about your next move. When the divorce papers are served, you should take immediate actions to protect your interests in a favorable manner.

In this article, you will find out some main points that you should consider when responding to a divorce complaint and to know how to respond to a divorce petition without a lawyer. Since the explanation here is to guide you to file a response against a divorce petition on your own, but for hustle-free case proceedings, you must contact an experienced lawyer for your case representation..

Want to respond to a divorce petition? Here’s what one should know

Respond to the petition is a must

Responding to the divorce petition in the given time frame is important because if you do not respond, then the court is eligible to make you a defaulter, and your partner will get everything she or he has asked for in the divorce papers.

If you don’t read the divorce papers carefully, then your partner may have the authority and access to the things you might not want to agree with. However, if you are disagreeing with any of the requests your spouse has asked for, you must submit a response to the court mentioning your disagreement.

Respond to the petition in the designated time

Divorce papers might not have made you worried but when you have read them you have to file a response immediately. The response time is twenty consecutive calendar days after receiving the petition. Until you file a request to extend the time to meditate, resolve, or want the decision to be reconsidered. Only active military spouse are excluded from this twenty-day period.

 There is a special document for official response

There is a special document
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You need some special documents to complete your divorce response officially. That include:

  • Response to the petition (in the agreement or for a counterclaim)

If the partner is asking for child custody, spouse support, or accessing the property, then:

Some other forms may also include if the partner wants to change some existing access to custody, spouse or child support, or want some access to custody.

Filing a counterclaim or agreeing on the claims

For filing the response, you can agree or disagree with the petition.

Answering with the petition

This means that you are outlining the details of the parts which you are agreeing with and with the parts you are disagreeing. These parts can be the reasons why the divorce complaint has been filed.


By submitting a response in the form of counter claim, you will get the opportunity to outline your needs from the divorce, instead of responding to the issues your partner mentioned in the complaint.

What you select from the above options depends on your circumstances and situation.

There are more ways to know how to respond to a divorce petition without a lawyer, which you will be reading next. 

Different ways to file the response

Once you have completed your documents to file a response, you can file them in different ways:

  • File the response in person.
  • In case your partner lives in another state or country, the response can be emailed to the specified email address of the particular jurisdiction.
  • You can submit your response to an online court’s e-filing system, which may require an additional fee.
  • The response can be mailed to the court’s address inside the jurisdiction through post.

In case, you cannot afford the response filing fees, you can request to waive it, whereas the fee for filing the response is approx. $215.

Send a duplicate of your response to your partner as well

Filed your response to the court? It’s not over yet. You have to ensure that the copy of your response has been served to your partner as well, the court is not responsible to do this on your behalf.

You are not supposed to send response copies by certified mail. The court will email the document to the lawyer if your partner has hired an authorized lawyer, but you must ensure that the court has sent them.

Once your partner has received your response, fill out, and submit a Certificate of Service Form to prove that you have submitted the response in the given time and completed the process.

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