What is an Answer?

In legal terms, an Answer is a Respondent or Defendant's written response to an initial court filing such as a divorce suit or a child custody petition. This is an absolutely essential filing as it establishes your personal presence before the court. Without this personal appearance, the Plaintiff/Petitioner may receive a default judgment from the court, getting everything they asked for, after certain rules have been satisfied. If you do not want to lose before it even begins, you will file an answer. You can file a general denial which simply announces that you appear before the court and intend to defend yourself against the suit. You should also speak with an attorney about filing a counter petition filed in addition to, not in replacement of, your Answer.

Also referred to as a Response. What is a Response?

If things go badly for a Plaintiff before a final order, the Plaintiff can withdraw their suit and the suit goes away. The pleadings frame the issues of the case and a response does nothing to reframe the issues. The counterpetition allows you to reframe the issues and introduce new issues if desired. It prevents the Petitioner from undoing the suit and frustrating your efforts. Where there is no counterpetitioner, the petitioner is always in control. Don't let your ex take control of your life. Learn how to reframe your case in a manner that deprives both your ex and the court of significant power over your life.

What is a Special Appearance Answer.

In some circumstances such as when you are being sued in a state other than your own, you may not want to give the foreign court any personal jurisdiction over you. In this situation, you can file a special appearance answer which allows you to respond to a suit for the purpose of contesting jurisdiction without submitting to the Court's broad jurisdiction until the court can prove its jurisdiction over you is justified. This is not something you would likely use in a divorce or child custody case but we have seen it used in defamation cases. Ask an attorney if you think this may apply to you.