The court doesn't send the answer anywhere.
It is the obligation of the person filing the answer to serve it along with a Certification of Service notarized on the date filed.
Forever is accurate. If you filed an ANSWER you should have also sent a copy to the Plaintiff's counsel. Stop handling the case yourself.
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The court does not copy the opposing counsel or party generally. If you don't send him/her a copy it is unlikely they have it.
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However long it takes the defendant to serve it, and, if mailed, however long it takes the post office to deliver it. It is not the court's responsibility to serve the opposing party.
J Charles Ferrari Eng & Nishimura 213.622.2255 The statement above is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice, as not all the facts are known. You should retain an attorney to review all the facts specific to your case in order to receive advise specific to your case. The statement above does not create an attorney/client relationship. Answers on Avvo can only be general ones, as specific answers would require knowledge of all the facts. As such, they may or may not apply to the question.
You need to send a copy of your answer to the plaintiff's attorney. Usually a notice of filing is filed as well and sent to the other side, along with a file-stamped copy of the answer. Does your answer comply with 735 ILCS 5/2-610 (http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/073500050k2-610.htm)? Do you have any affirmative defenses and/or counterclaims and if so are those part of your answer? If the complaint is verified, is your answer verified? You really should retain an attorney. Good luck!
Robert T. Kuehl
Kuehl Law, P.C.