Responding to the Divorce Papers
Make sure you understand the basic divorce concepts! There is a FREE DIVORCE CLASS where you can learn the basics of divorce law and court procedures. Classes are available to anyone, regardless of income, and regardless of whether you have an attorney. Classes are offered in English and Spanish. Visit Free Classes for more information.
Being served with divorce papers can be scary and stressful. Your emotions might make it hard to figure out what to do. It can be tempting to do absolutely nothing because you are too overwhelmed to deal with it. Or you might think if you do nothing, your spouse will not be able to move forward with the divorce.
Ignoring the divorce papers will not make the divorce go away. In fact, once you are served with the papers, you only have 20 calendar days to file your own papers in response. If you do not, the court could enter a default against you, and your spouse may be able to get everything they asked for in their complaint for divorce. This page will explain the steps you need to take to respond to a complaint for divorce.
- Read the Complaint for Divorce
- Know Your Deadline to Respond
- Fill Out Your Papers to Respond
- File Your Paperwork
- Serve the Plaintiff
You first need to figure out what your spouse is asking for out of the divorce. Read the Complaint for Divorce. Don’t worry, the judge has not ordered anything yet – the complaint just tells you what your spouse is asking for as part of the divorce. You may agree with some, all, or none of the complaint. Write down next to each paragraph in the complaint whether you agree or disagree with what that paragraph says.
If you agree with everything your spouse is asking for out of the divorce, you may not need to file anything. Talk to your spouse about signing a joint Decree of Divorce. Or, you can do nothing and your spouse will get a default Divorce Decree that includes everything requested in their complaint. But if you disagree with anything your spouse is asking for, you will need to file a response.
If you are an active military service member, you may be able to ask the court to “stay” the proceedings if your military service prevents you from being able to participate in the case. See the Information For Active Military Members to learn more about this.
If you are unsure what to do, it is always best to talk to a lawyer. Visit Lawyers and Legal Help for information on lawyers and free / low-cost legal help.
You only have 20 calendar days after being served to file your papers. If you were served more than 20 days ago, or if you are not going to be able to file a response within 20 days, you can fill out the following paperwork to ask the judge to extend the time to let you file:
If a default has already been entered against you, you can file papers asking the judge to “set aside” the default, which means you want the judge to hear your side of the story before making a final order. See Setting Aside a Default or Order for information about this.
To respond to the divorce case, you will need to file 2 or 3 of these forms:
- Answer (and Maybe a Counterclaim) to Divorce
- Financial Disclosure Form
- Joint Preliminary Injunction (only needed if your spouse didn’t already file this)
Fill out ONLY ONE of the forms below. You have two choices when responding to the divorce papers:
File an Answer only. An "Answer" tells the judge and your spouse what parts of the complaint you agree with and disagree with. For instance, you might agree with paragraphs 1, 2, 3, 7, 8 of the complaint for divorce, but disagree with paragraphs 4, 5, 6 of the complaint for divorce. Write that in the Answer. This lets the judge and your spouse know what issues will need to be dealt with.
File an Answer with a Counterclaim. The "Answer" (described above) tells the judge and your spouse what you agree and disagree with from the complaint. You can also include a "Counterclaim" where you can tell them specifically what you want out of the divorce (like the Plaintiff did). You can list the specific custody orders, property division, etc. that you would like the judge to order.
You (and your spouse) have to file a Financial Disclosure Form within 30 days of when you file your Answer. It is best to file it with your Answer so you do not forget later.
The Financial Disclosure Form, or “FDF,” gives information about your employment, your income, your expenses, your property, and your debts. You must attach your three most recent paystubs to this form. This information helps the judge to have an idea of what financial issues are involved in the divorce. If you do not fill out this form completely and accurately, the court may rule against you.
You must attach your last 3 paystubs to this form.
For "high asset" divorces where the parties own $1 million or more in gross assets, or the combined gross income of the parties is $250,000 or more per year, or where either spouse is self-employed or the owner or partner of a business, the parties can ask to opt into the "Complex Divorce Litigation Procedures" under NRCP 16.2(c)(2). This requires both parties to file a Detailed Financial Disclosure Form (this form can be found on the Divorce Forms page) and raises many other litigation requirements. Anyone taking part in a Complex Divorce case is highly encouraged to retain an attorney. You can learn more about finding an attorney under Lawyers & Legal Help.
You do not need to fill out this form if your spouse already did. If they did not, you can request this injunction when you file your papers. The injunction prevents both you and your spouse from doing the following while the divorce case is going on:
- You cannot hide, sell, or dispose of community property.
- You cannot cancel or change the beneficiaries on any retirement accounts or insurance plans.
- You cannot harass each other, the children, each other’s relatives, or family pets.
- You cannot relocate the children out of Nevada without written permission.
Whoever has the form issued by the Clerk is legally prevented from doing all of the above things as soon as it is issued. The other spouse is legally prevented from doing these as soon as he or she is served with the papers.
If you would like this injunction issued, you must file a written request asking the Clerk of Court to issue one. Fill out the request below, and the Clerk will issue a detailed injunction when you file.
After you fill out the papers above, you will need to file them with the family court. The fee to file these papers is $217. The fee is payable by cash, money order, or most major credit/debit cards. If you cannot afford the fee, please see Filing Fees and Waivers to find out how to ask the court to waive the fee.
You can file your papers one of three ways:
In Person: Bring your filing fee and the forms to the Family Courts and Services Center. You will be able to file your papers in person at the Clerk’s Office. The Clerk’s Office is open Monday – Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m, but you must arrive by 3:40 p.m. to see a Clerk before closing. Be sure to arrive before then.
By Mail: If you cannot come to the court during business hours, you can mail your forms and the filing fee to:
Family Courts and Services Center
Attn: Clerk of Court
601 North Pecos Road
Las Vegas, NV 89101
- Online: Many documents can be filed online through the court's e-filing system, eFileNV (although some documents must be filed in person). There is a fee of $3.50 to upload your documents, in addition to the regular filing fee. You must register for an account, you must provide a valid email address, and you must be able to scan and upload your documents.
After you complete the steps on this page, a copy of your answer/counterclaim (and anything else you filed) must be sent to your spouse (the “Plaintiff”). The Court does not serve the papers for you. It is up to YOU to make sure your spouse gets served after you file these papers. After you have completed the steps on this page, learn all about how to have your spouse served by visiting the Serving the Answer/Counterclaim page.