Your spouse has already gotten the ball rolling by filing a divorce complaint with the court, along with the requisite forms and filing fee. They will be considered the plaintiff in the case, while you will be considered the defendant. Copies of the completed forms must then be legally served to you.
Even if you and your spouse have been thinking about divorce for a long time, being served with divorce papers can be emotionally devastating. If your spouse has filed a petition for divorce, it is in your best interest to put your emotions aside and take the necessary steps to protect yourself and your financial future. The first step you take will likely be filing a response to the complaint.
Filing an answer to a divorce complaint
Once you have been served with divorce papers in Vermont, you must file an answer to the divorce complaint within 21 days of the date you were served. In your answer, you will go through each point of the plaintiff’s complaint and indicate whether you agree or disagree with each statement. If you disagree with a statement, you can explain your side of the story in your answer.
You will also be allowed to make a counterclaim, stating your own claims against the plaintiff. Failing to file a timely answer, without requesting an extension, may result in a default judgment against you. This essentially allows the court to make decisions regarding the divorce without your input.
Once you have filed your answer with the court, you will need to serve your spouse, in accordance with state requirements. You will then need to file a certificate of service with the court to verify that you have properly served your spouse with the necessary paperwork.
Finding out that your husband or wife has filed for divorce can be overwhelming at first. As you begin to move forward, make sure you are following all of the required steps to legally finalize your divorce.