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What do I do if I get served a Summons and Complaint for Divorce?

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed July 2023

What is a Summons and Complaint for Divorce?

Your spouse uses the complaint to tell the court, and you, that they want to divorce you. They put their reasons for divorcing you in their complaint. The Summons says you have to answer by a certain date. In your Answer, you respond to the claims your spouse put in their complaint.

What is an Answer?

An answer is your answer to your spouse’s complaint. The court already has the complaint. When you file your answer, you tell the court and your spouse, in writing, the statements in their complaint that:

  • you agree with,
  • you disagree with, and
  • you do not know about.

When you go to court, you can explain each point in more detail.

Where do I get an Answer form?

You can the Answer to a Divorce Complaint from the Probate and Family Court.

If you got a summons and complaint, you are the "defendant" in this case. Your spouse is the "plaintiff."

How do I file my Answer?

See How do I answer the complaint?

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