The short answer is that you have 30 days and that should be written on the summons. Of course, there are exceptions but the best rule of thumb is to keep to the 30 day deadline. I urge you to contact an attorney and take advantage of a free legal consultation to discuss the divorce action served upon you and to do this as quickly as possible since 30 days will slip by fast.
The summons, which is signed by the clerk and should be on top of the complaint should state how long you have to answer. This SHOULD state 30 days. Note, that this does not mean retain your attorney by the 30th day, it means the answer MUST be PHYSICALLY filed with the clerk within 30 days. While technically speaking there is no "default" for failing to answer a complaint in divorce, see Georgia Code Section 19-5-8, it is the better practice to answer particularly if there is anything in the complaint with which you FACTUALLY disagree. There also may be legal issues about which an attorney can advise you.
Nothing in this posting may be deemed to create an attorney client relationship. If you would like to discuss the particulars of your case with the attorneys of our firm, please contact us in private.
The time to answer, while normally 30 days, can be lengthened or shortened by the court. Look at your summons. What it says on there is how long you have to respond. Remember, a lawyer will need time to prepare the response. Your best bet is to retain counsel right away.