How long does a respondent have to serve the petitioner with his response to petition?

Asked over 1 year ago - Bellingham, WA

My sister met with the court facilitator and I helped her fill out the paperwork and file for divorce. I served her husband and he had until April 29th to respond. I found on WA courts that he filed his response to the petition on April 26th but he has not served her a copy yet. Does the 20 days only apply to filing with the court?

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Thuong-Tri Nguyen

    Contributor Level 20
    Best Answer
    chosen by asker

    Answered . My experience has been that some self-represented persons would not serve the other parties with documents that are filed with the court. Perhaps they do not know that the court rules require that a party serve all other parties with any document filed with the court. Perhaps they do not want to follow court rules.

    What your sister can do is go to the courthouse and buy copies of the documents filed with the court.

    Your sister can ask the court to order the husband to pay her for any cost she incurred due to his failure to follow court rules.

  2. Bruce Clement


    Contributor Level 19

    Answered . If the husband has filed a response, your sister cannot default him. If the response is filed before an order of default is entered, no default will be ordered. Even if he were defaulted, the courts often will vacate a default order for "excusable neglect" upon motion within one year of the default. See my AVVO Legal Guides on vacating default orders for more information about the legal issues raised by your inquiry. To find my Legal Guides, go the AVVO website at; click on “Find a Lawyer”; enter my name and WA. On my AVVO home page click on "View Contributions" or scroll down further and click on "Legal Guides." Scroll down the list of my 29 Legal Guides and select the topics relevant to your question. If you like my answer and Legal Guides, please make sure you mark them as “helpful.”

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Divorce is the process of formally ending a marriage. Divorces may be jointly agreed upon, resolved by negotiation, or decided in court.

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