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Why You Need to File an Answer to a Complaint: Family Issues

Couple filling out divorce paperwork with hands on their headsReceiving a complaint is always serious, but the consequences can be particularly severe in family court. There is more than money on the line in most cases, as custody and divorce judgments will change your life and the lives of your loved ones forever. At Lebovitz Law, we work with clients who have faced severe consequences as a result of not filing an answer to a family issue court case. Don’t assume that you have time to wait until you secure a lawyer, or you might be too late.

Why Should You Respond to a Family Issue Complaint?

If your spouse has filed a divorce or custody case against you, you must respond. If you plan to contest the complaint, petition or motion, you must notify the court where the case was filed of your intentions. If you fail to respond, an order of default can be issued by the court.

Responding to a Family Issue Complaint

An answer is a formal written response to allegations filed in the original complaint, petition or motion. An answer must be properly written and filed on time to be considered. Once you submit an answer, the court will review it for validity and then move forward to schedule a scheduling conference or hearing. If you do not respond promptly or adequately, the person who filed the petition or complaint can request a default judgment from the court.

What Is a Default Judgment?

A default occurs when the party that filed the petition or complaint, in response to the lack of response from the other party, asks a judge to grant custody or divorce by default. In order to have a default judgment entered, the party must prepare an affidavit to prove that the petition was served and the other party failed to respond. Once the affidavit has been filed, and proof has been provided, the judge can proceed with issuing a default judgment. A default could potentially include every order requested, including any orders for child support, property and alimony. If you did not respond to a family issue complaint, the judge does not have proof from your side that these orders should not be awarded.

How Can You Respond to an Order of Default?

If you received an Order of Default for a family issue case, you must respond as quickly as you can. You need to file a “Motion to Vacate an Order of Default” and explain to the court a compelling reason why you did not respond to the previous notices and why you would like to fight the case in court. Valid examples of a response include never receiving the petition or being unable to answer the petition. You also need to get a skilled family court lawyer on your side.

Your Family Issues Law Specialist is Lebovitz Law

If you received a complaint or Order of Default, you need an experienced lawyer on your side. To learn more about how we can assist you, please contact us today.

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