The process of dissolving a marriage can get very messy in Massachusetts. For this reason, it is important to understand what to do from the start to protect one’s interests. The several days following the filing of the divorce petition represent one of the most critical periods of this type of family law proceeding.
Once a petition has been filed with the divorce court, it is served on the spouse of the petitioner. The spouse being served is known as the defendant or respondent in the case. The defendant has to provide a response to the petition typically in around three weeks.
The response can highlight how the defendant feels about the petitioner’s demands regarding issues such as the splitting of assets, spousal support and child custody. If the petition was served properly but never answered, the court will simply assume that the respondent is in agreement with the terms initially included in the petition, and the respondent will no longer have the right to argue about any aspect of the divorce. If this happens, the respondent could request that the court make it possible for the divorce to be contested after all, but legitimate legal reasons have to be presented for making this type of move.
When it is time to file a response to a divorce petition, an attorney in the state of Massachusetts can be most helpful. The attorney can actually file the response on one’s behalf. Then, the attorney can help with the negotiation process in pursuit of a resolution that will be personally favorable in the long run.
Source: findlaw.com, “Answering the Divorce/Dissolution Petition“, Accessed on April 29, 2017