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Top Orange County divorce lawyers; The Maggio Law Firm

What To Do When Served With A Divorce Petition

Top divorce attorneys Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmThe divorce petition is a legal document in a divorce that has been filed by the spouse who wants the divorce. The petition is an indication that one spouse is ready to dissolve the marriage and is waiting for his/her partner’s reply. It also signifies the start of a divorce proceeding.

If you have received one such petition from the court, then it is your duty to reply back. The court will usually give you a period of around 20 days in which time you have to decide what you wish to do. You can hire a divorce lawyer and file the paperwork with the court. Or you may also choose to avoid the petition in which case the court will move ahead with the proceeding with or without you. Hire an experienced divorce lawyer to have a better understanding of the way petitions work in the legal system.

How to file an answer

If you’re the respondent and you wish you reply to the petition, you must fill out an answer form for the respondent and send it to the court. You must also provide financial statements and work out a parenting plan if you and your spouse have kids.

If you don’t answer

If you choose to ignore the petition, then the proceeding will take place as usual. But remember that when you don’t say anything, the court assumes that you have agreed to the arrangements. A “default” will be entered in your place and your right to argue will also end. However, if you show sound reasons that what you did is justified, then the court might give you another chance.

If you don’t reply to the divorce petition in California, your divorce can still proceed by default judgment based on the grounds of irreconcilable differences.


A divorce petition which has been sent by your spouse to you is a legal document asking you for a divorce. There are respondent forms available through which you can agree to the divorce. Alternatively, you may choose to refrain from an answer. However, it won’t stop you from getting divorced.  Whatever you may choose to do, hire a good divorce lawyer first who can give you an informed decision about how you need to answer the petition.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.

divorce_attorneyGerald A. Maggio is an experienced Orange County divorce and family law lawyer and family law attorney located in Irvine, California, serving the Orange County and Riverside areas. Mr. Maggio assists clients with legal issues including divorce, legal separation, divorce mediation, child custody, prenuptial agreements, stepparent adoptions, and other family law issues. Mr. Maggio has practiced law in California since 1999, and founded The Maggio Law Firm in 2005, focusing exclusively on divorce and family law matters.



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