Yes there is a format to most legal documents, but that is less important then the content in the reply. It would be impossible to fully explain how to format the response. The key is to respond to everything honestly and to be sure you assert your claims properly. It may be wise to go to your local courthouse and get a 30 day extension. The clerk will likely help you find a form to do that. Get the extension and set up an initial consultation with a board certified family law specialist in your area. There is a listing of specialist on the North Carolina Bar's website. Remember that you will be held to the same standard as an attorney. If you do not adequately represent yourself you will likely lose against a competent attorney.
I am not intending this to be legal advice, because I don't know the particulars of your situation. Call me if you would like to set up an initial consultation to discuss this further.
Beware trying to respond on your own. You have defenses such as condonation and recrimination. You need a lawyer to know how to allege these defenses. I agree with Mr. Trosch that you need an extension of time.
The author of this opinion is licensed only in the states of NC, SC and TN.
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