If you just got served with divorce papers in Las Vegas or anywhere in the state of Nevada by your husband or wife… then what you do in the next few weeks could have a HUGE bearing on how your finances and your children (if you have any).
It is very IMPORTANT that you read this article in fullness… because if you do not act fast after getting served the divorce papers (within the next 20 days)… then the court can pass judgment against you.
DISCLAIMER: As we are divorce paralegals, not divorce attorneys we cannot give you any legal advice. None of the divorce advice in this article should be construed as legal advice.
In Nevada, there are two primary divorce forms that a person can get divorced with.
The first one is called a Joint Petition Divorce… and this is used for uncontested divorces in Las Vegas. An uncontested divorce is where both parties agree to the divorce, how to raise their children, how to divide up their assets/debts and both are willing to sign the divorce papers.
This is the most preferable way to get a divorce as it is cheaper, quicker and less painful in most cases.
The second one is called a Complaint for Divorce. This is the divorce form that your husband or wife just served you with.
In the Complaint for Divorce… only one spouse needs to sign it… and in it, they list all their demands and requests to the court… regarding how to split up property/debts, visitation for the kids, child support, custody, spousal support and a host of other issues.
When you have been served with the divorce papers… you ONLY have 20 days to respond back to the court and to your spouse/or their attorney.
If you do not respond back within 20 days and you do nothing… then your spouse can file a default against you (meaning that you are in default in responding back)… and then usually what happens after that… is the court will generally grant the divorce and give your spouse whatever they asked for in the complaint for divorce.
So if your husband or wife asks for the house, sole custody of the kids, all the vehicles, your retirement account, spousal support and legal fees to be paid by you… and you do nothing and don’t respond back within 20 days… the court will usually grant their request.
How to Respond Back to Being Served with a Divorce
For the rest of this divorce article… I’m going to go fast and give you some personal information (not legal advice)… on how you can quickly and effectively respond back to OR answer a divorce that your spouse has just served you with.
1. Remember that time is not on your side. You only have 20 days from the time that you have been served the divorce papers to respond back to the divorce… otherwise judgment can and probably will be granted against you.
Remember 20 days is NOT a lot of time (it’s only 3 weeks). In our office, usually people wait until the last second/few days before contacting us to HELP them to respond back to their divorce.
When you get served, remember that it is crucial that you act fast and develop a game plan on how you plan to respond back to… or answer your divorce. Call us right now at 702-800-4632 if you need help.
2. You will have to prepare the right document to respond back to the divorce. If you agree to the divorce you’ve been served with… then you can simply do nothing and just let it go into default.
But chances are if you took the time out of your day to Google this article… then there are at least a few things in the divorce papers you’ve been served with that you disagree with.
The document that needs to be prepared in order to respond back to the divorce is called an “Answer and Counterclaim for Divorce”.
In this document… you (a) Answer your spouse’s complaint and either agree, disagree or state you don’t have any information to come to a conclusion on all the different points that were in your spouses divorce complaint.
Then (b) You do a counterclaim, in which you put out all the points that you want in the divorce. So basically, you can state what assets/property you want; child support/visitation/custody; that you want your spouse to pay legal fees; etc.
After the Answer and Counterclaim for Divorce has been filed at court and the court filing fees have been paid… you would then have a 3rd party (friend, family member, co-worker) mail a filed copy of it to your spouse.
Your spouse would then have 20 days to respond back to it… otherwise THEY would be in default, and the court can pass judgment on them according to what YOU asked.
If your spouse does reply back to your answer and counterclaim… then the court would schedule a case management conference… in which the two of you would go to court and possibly mediation… in order to finalize your divorce.
3. You Have to Pay Money to File Your Answer. Yes, it is very unfair, as in most states when you answer or respond back to a divorce… you don’t have to pay any money to the court.
But in the state of Nevada… you do need to pay a $217 court filing fee (as of 12/25/2013)… when you respond back to your spouse’s divorce.
If you don’t have the money… you can file a motion to the court asking the judge to extend the time that you have… in order to file your answer and counterclaim. In most cases, a judge will grant you extra time to respond back to your spouse’s divorce.
4. Court. Once you go to court, they will try to mediate your divorce and if that cannot happen… then a judge will decide what he or she thinks is fair on all the different points of your divorce… and then will pass judgment in your case.
It is very important, especially if you have children or a lot of property… and especially if your spouse has a divorce attorney representing them… that you really consider getting good legal counsel when it comes to this final step.
We can help you QUICKLY file an answer and counterclaim to your spouse’s divorce complaint initially at an affordable price… to buy you time so that you meet your 20-day time to answer.
But at the end of the day, when it comes down to the final step of you going to court… we can recommend a good Las Vegas divorce attorney to represent you when you call us at 702-800-4632.