I’ve been served with a Petition for Divorce! What do I do?

When a petition is delivered to the spouse who did not file the petition, that spouse has twenty days in which to respond to the petition if he or she was served the papers inside the state. If the papers were delivered to that spouse outside the state, then Kansas law provides that he or she has thirty days from the date of service to file a response.

The response to a Petition for Divorce is called an “Answer.” The “Answer” responds to each point raised in the petition by either admitting the fact, denying the fact, or by indicating that there is no way to either admit or deny the fact while providing as much information as possible to correct the fact alleged.

If the spouse against whom the petition has been filed fails to respond to the petition within the time provided, that spouse is in “default” and a decree of divorce can, under some circumstances, be entered against that spouse without his or her knowledge.

It is very important if you are the person against whom any kind of case has been filed that a response to the petition be prepared and filed. If you do not do so, you may lose valuable rights and you may not have any say in the provisions of the final divorce decree. Although the law does not require that the Answer be prepared by an attorney, we strongly recommend that everyone seek and obtain legal advice after receipt of any legal document such as a petition.

If temporary orders were filed in the case, the responding party may request a modification of the orders entered. If such a modification request is not filed and if the orders are not changed, the original orders are binding on the parties and a judgment may be issued for any failure to pay the amounts due under that order.