Filing Answer to an Absolute Divorce

When I file my answer to the claim for divorce how do I make sure that I keep open property settlement, custody, alimony ect. My spouse has already sent me the papers and I only have 30 days to answer but want to make sure that I am covered on the above issues since none of these are settled or any claims have been made. Please help.

You must file an Answer to the Complaint and admit or deny the allegations contained therein and you must include a counterclaim for Equitable Distribution of the marital estate. You need to indicate all the pertinent facts such as:
County where each of you reside;
Date of marriage;
Date of separation;
Allege that certain property was acquired during your marriage which is subject to distribution by the court;
Ask that the court distribute the property.
There are several forms on this website, and in the self serve clinics in many counties that can serve as examples.

What forms would those be? What if I don’t want to settle ED at this time but just want to leave it open in the future. Can’t really afford a lawyer at this time so I don’t want to have to fight it out in court. I just want to leave open that option in the future.

You can browse the forms and chose which are applicable to your situation depending on how you want to move forward.
At some point the court will schedule a pretrial conference, and later the ED trial on its own accord as the courts do not allow cases to be filed and become stagnate.