What is the deadline to file an answer in a family law case?
If you have been served with a citation and petition, there is a deadline to file your answer.
To determine the deadline, find the day you were served on a calendar. Count out 20 more days (including weekends and holidays) then go to the next Monday. You must file your answer with the court on or before this date at 10:00 a.m. If the 20th day falls on a Monday, go to the next Monday. If the courts are closed on the day your answer is due, then your answer is due the next day the courts are open.
If you are served and do not file an answer on or before the deadline, the petitioner can finish the case without any further notice to you. This is called a “default judgment.”
If you have NOT been served with a citation and petition, there is no deadline to file your answer. You can file your answer at any time after the petitioner files a petition (the form that starts the lawsuit) with the court. If you file your answer, the petitioner will not need to have you served.
NOTE: The deadline to file an answer may be different if you have a civil case (such as an eviction or other type of case filed in Justice of the Peace court)