Responding to the Divorce Papers
Before you begin:
- Is this page for me? This page is for people who have been served with the very first papers starting a divorce (a complaint and summons). If you were served with something called a "motion" there are different papers you need to respond. Look for "oppositions" on this website.
- Do I have to file something? If you disagree with anything your spouse is asking for in their papers, you need to file a response. If you don't, your spouse may be able to get a divorce including everything they asked for in their complaint.
- What laws apply? Learn the basics of the laws that apply on the Divorce Overview and Custody Overview pages.
- Where can I learn more? You can attend a free divorce class that teaches you the basics about divorce cases.
Follow these steps to respond to the case:
1: Read the complaint and decide what to do. Ignoring the papers will not make the case go away. You need to understand what your spouse is asking for so you can decide what to do.
2. Know your deadline! You have to act quickly if you disagree with anything your spouse asking for.
3. Fill out the forms. You have to fill out at least one form to respond to the case.
4. File the forms. Turn in your completed forms by mail, efiling, or in person to the Clerk of Court.
5. Serve the Plaintiff. You are responsible for serving the other party with a copy of your filed forms, usually by mail or e-service.
Learn more about each step below.
1. Read the complaint and decide what to do.
The complaint tells you what the other party is asking for. Don’t worry, the judge has not ordered anything yet. Read the complaint. 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, you may not need to file anything. Your spouse can request a default Divorce Decree in 21 days that matches everything requested in their complaint if you do not respond.
If you disagree with even one thing they are asking for, you will need to file a response.
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.
2. Know your deadline!
You only have 21 days after being served to file your papers. If you were served more than 21 days ago, or if you are not going to be able to file a response within 21 days, you can fill out BOTH of the following forms to ask the judge to extend the time to let you file:
Request To Extend the Time to Answer (pdf fillable)
Order To Extend the Time to Answer (pdf fillable)
If a default was already 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.
FYI!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.
3. Fill out the forms.
To respond to the case, fill out these forms:
- Answer (and Maybe a Counterclaim) to Divorce - Required.
- Financial Disclosure Form - Due within 30 days of your answer.
- Joint Preliminary Injunction - Optional.
Answer (and Maybe a Counterclaim) to Divorce
Fill out ONLY ONE of the forms below. You have two choices when responding to the divorce papers:
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.
Answer with a Counterclaim. This is an "Answer" (described above) plus a "Counterclaim" where you can explain what you want the judge to order (like the Plaintiff did).
Answer & Counterclaim for Divorce - No Children (pdf)
Answer & Counterclaim for Divorce – No Children (pdf fillable)
Answer & Counterclaim for Divorce - With Children (pdf)
Answer & Counterclaim for Divorce – With Children (pdf fillable)
Financial Disclosure Form ("FDF")
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.
Financial Disclosure Form (pdf) Financial Disclosure Form - General (pdf fillable)
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.
Joint Preliminary Injunction ("JPI")
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 fill out and file the form below asking the Clerk of Court to issue one.
Joint Preliminary Injunction Request (pdf fillable)
4. File the forms
The fee to file these papers is $217. You can pay by cash, money order, or most major credit/debit cards. If you cannot afford the fee, see Filing Fees and Waivers to find out how to ask the court to waive the fee.
You can file your papers one of these ways:
- Online: You can file online through the court's e-filing system, eFileNV. 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 as separate pdfs. Do not upload one pdf with all of the forms included - this will significantly delay the processing. Each form needs to be filed as its own pdf, but you can upload all of them in one submission. Carefully follow the E-Filing Guide to avoid mistakes.
- In person at the Family Courthouse (check our How to File page for hours and more information).
By Mail: (mail takes about 6-8 weeks to process and is not suggested if you are under a deadline to file) Mail your forms and the filing fee (with check or money order made out to Clerk of Court) to:
Family Courts and Services Center
Attn: Clerk of Court
601 North Pecos Road
Las Vegas, NV 89101
5. Serve the Plaintiff
The Court does not serve the papers for you. It is up to YOU to make sure the other spouse (the "Plaintiff") gets served with your answer.
After you file, send a copy of your answer/counterclaim (and anything else you filed) to the Plaintiff or their attorney if they have one. You have to send it within 3 days of filing. You can send it by regular mail, or you can e-serve it through the court's system if the other party is registered for e-service.
After you serve, fill out a Certificate of Service and file it with the court.