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How do I answer a divorce summons without a lawyer in NJ?

Edison, NJ |

A police officer delivered me a summons from court which, my wife has filed against me for irreconcilable differences. According to the document, I have 35 days to file an answer or motion or else, the court may enter a judgment against me for the "relief plaintiff demands, plus interest and cost of suit". So, how do i answer to the summons? Which steps do i need to follow? Is there a form i can use?

She's just asking to get the marriage dissolved as well as keep the joint custody of our son and split our credit card debt in half which, i previously discussed and agreed with her.

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Attorney answers 6


A consultation is needed so an attorney can read the complaint, explain it to you, get your response and find out how you feel about her requests.

Please be advised my answers to questions does not constitute legal advise and you should not rely on it, due to the fact that we have never met, I have not been aprised of the facts in you case nor have I reviewed any documents.


you really should consult with an attorney. if you have kids and property the matter is usually too complicated to be done by yourself.

As for answering, you can just do a basic answer, pay the $135 and have the case put on contested track. Otherwise a default may be entered and your ex will get everything she is asking for.

If you would like a free consultation, give me a call at 551-427-4428

This answer should not be construed as creating an attorney-client relationship, and is for informational purposes only, not legal advice.


If you're not familiar with the legal process you should consult a local attorney before filing anything with the court.

Under the rules governing the conduct of attorneys in New York it may be necessary to remind you that this answer could be considered attorney advertising.


Although I agree with everyone else's advice that you should consult with an attorney, you can obtain a blank form of an "answer" from your local court house which will have instructions on completion. Additionally, if you do not dispute the actual divorce but want to be heard on issues about custody, support or asset and debt distribution, you can file what is called a "notice of appearance" which says you do not dispute getting divorce but you want to be heard on the issues.

If you want to speak with an experienced attorney who is familiar with these areas of law, call us at 973-562-0100. Our firm is concentrated in family law and estate planning case.

Good luck.
Brad M. Micklin, Esq.
The Micklin Law Group
187 Washington Ave., Suite 2F
Nutley, NJ 07110

This information is based upon the limited facts you presented. My advice Is based on New Jersey law and may be different if I find that the facts presented are different. Additionally, this answer does not contain any confidential information nor does it create any attorney/client relationship.


In response to being served with a divorce complaint you need to file an Answer or Answer and counterclaim to protect your interests. Doing nothing, or not following the 35 day timeline can result in you being held in default. You should meet with an attorney as soon as possible so that they can review the complaint and advise you on how to proceed.

This post is not legal advice and does not create a confidential attorney-client relationship. It is being offered for informational purposes only. You should not relay any confidential or priviliged material in this public forum. You should not rely in this post as legal advice. In order to obtain a more comprehensive answer to your question you should consult with an attoreny of yoru choosing.


The grounds of irreconcilable differences is not the problem. Those are the grounds used by almost all litigants in New Jersey who want to get a divorce. However, since you have property, you have a child, and you have some issues to deal with, you are going to be much better off and much happier with your results if you retain an attonrey to represent you. The cost should not be huge, since it sounds like you might agree on most items. However, with respect to you child, you have rights, and the child has rights to a meaningful relationship which inlcudes your having decisionmaking and significant parenting time with your child. Once your divorce is final, if you give up your rights, then you may not be able to change things later. At the least, you should have a consultation with an experienced family law attonrey before you decide what to do.

Disclaimer: The information you obtain at this answer is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation. Review of this answer does not in any way constitute legal representation,