How do I file a Response to the Petition?

When responding to a Petition, it is important for you to know that you have options:

  • One option is not to respond to the divorce case. If you have very carefully read all of the paperwork that you were served with and AGREE with ALL of the information listed (for example: property, debts, support, child custody), then you do not need to respond
  • If you disagree with ANYTHING within the divorce petition, then you have the option of filing a response with the court. The purpose of filing a response in the case is to give you the opportunity to present your requests in the case

If you decide to respond, you will have to pay the current filing fee. If you decide not to respond, then after 30 days from the date you were served with the Petition, the other party can enter you into a default status (which means that you can no longer respond). The other party will then begin the process to get a default judgment. In that default judgment, the other party cannot request anything more than what was listed in their original petition.

If it has been more than 30 days since you were given the legal documents, you may be able to file your Response, so long as the other party has not filed and entered a Request to Enter Default against you.

If the other party has filed the Request to Enter Default then you may request a hearing to ask the judge for special permission to file a Response. There are legal deadlines to make this special request.

How do I file a Response Declaration to a Request for Order?

A Responsive Declaration to the Request for Order must be filed and served with any supporting documents within 9 Calendar days of the hearing. The Responsive Declaration to the Request for Order must set forth facts sufficient to notify the other party of the declarant's contentions in response to the request for order and in support of any relief requested. You can contact the Self-Help Center for assistance with this process, or you can visit the California Court’s Self-Help Center website.