What is an “Answer” or “Response?”
An “answer” is the document filed in court that responds to a petition. An answer in a divorce usually “admits” many or most of the allegations found in the petition and Kansas law requires that an answering party admit allegations if they are true, unless that person does not have enough information to know whether it is true or not. The “answer” may also ask that the court approve agreements or decide issues between the parties.
An “answer” may also include “affirmative relief” (that is, requests that the court make orders favoring the answering party), but this is usually done in a “counterclaim.” A person who requests spousal support (alimony) from the other spouse may do this in the “answer,” but it is usually advisable to do so in a “counterclaim” instead.
If the first step in starting any domestic action is the filing of the “petition.” The petition is a simple, straight-forward legal document that contains basic information about the parties, the claims made, and the “relief” requested. The spouse who first files the petition is the “Petitioner” (although Kansas law states that the term is not supposed to be used). The other spouse — the spouse against whom the Petition is filed — is called the “Respondent” (although, again, Kansas law states that the term is not supposed to be used).
If the husband and wife have children of their marriage, both the petition and the answer must include information about those children – even if that same information is included in the other pleading. Kansas law requires that both the petition and the answer include the following information if the husband and wife have children from their relationship:
1. Full-name of each child;
2. Birthdates (by month and year) and ages for each child;
3. Addresses where each child is living (both parents addresses if the child is living with both for some time);
4. Addresses where each child has lived for the past 5 years;
5. Addresses of any person who claims child custody rights (legal custody or parenting time rights);
6. Whether any previous cases in which the child’s custody was involved were filed and, if so, the county and state of the filing, the case number, and the result;
7. Whether there exist any court orders about the child’s custody and, if so, the county and state of filing, the case number and the order.
The petition and answer must “verify” the responses to these questions.