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How long do I have to respond after being "served" divorce papers?

Houston, TX |

If I don't agree and don't want to sign the divorce papers, what happens? How long do I have to think about it before responding?

I was served with divorce papers on Friday, August 13th. (Yes, Friday the 13th.)

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Attorney answers 5


You don't have to sign anything if you were served, you need an answer filed. Depending on when the divorce petition was filed, it could be that you have as much as 2 months until you can be defaulted, or it could be as short as 21 days if you were served some time after the petition was filed. I really suggest you consult with an attorney ASAP.

If you do not respond to the suit, it does not matter what you agree with or not. The court can grant her requests if you have not answered the suit.

Good luck,
Eric Gruetzner


Based on what you have written, the time period to respond is generally 20 days. There are many factors which go into how to calculate the 20 days, as they are typically not 20 straight days. You generally do not have to sign anything when being served with a law suit. If you don't want to agree to the proposal, then you have the possibility to negotiate additional items, terms, etc. You should really consult with a local law firm to ensure that your are fully protecting your rights and interests in this proceeding.

The above response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an on-going duty to respond to questions. Additionally, the response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than an educated opinion. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change.


If you were served on 8/13/10, your answer to the lawsuit is due September 6th. If you don't agree with the proposed divorce documents, you are under no obligation to sign them. You probably should hire a lawyer and go over your options. You need to do this sooner rather than later so that the lawyer has time to prepare the answer and get their work done for other clients.


Consult an attorney by the first week of September 2010 to come up with a plan of action, which will hopefully involve hiring the attorney to represent you in your divorce case.


You must respond to the Court by Sept 6th, or a default can be entered against you in the divorce case. Call my office for a free consultation concerning your issues.

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