How much time does one have to answer a motion to modify custody? Does the answer have to be filed with the clerk? Is any time constraint mitigated by the family court’s attempt to schedule mediation? thanks for any help.
You have 30 days after you were served to file an Answer, which you will need to do with the clerk. The family court scheduling mediation has no effect on this time period. You should go ahead and file your Answer now (or a Motion for Extension of Time to get another 30 days to respond) so you don’t lose your opportunity. If you don’t file an Answer, every allegation in the Motion will be deemed admitted. Mediation is a separate thing. It is important to protect your rights now in case mediation fails and you end up in a trial.
Thanks very much for the reply. I actually filed the motion to modify on November 1.
Days are calculated as calendar days, correct?
Her first “answer”, a letter to the judge, was not copied to me and was not filed with the court. Dated November 28th.
Her amended “answer” (another letter to the Judge) was copied to me with certificate of service but not filed. Dated December 16th.
The clerk verified no filed answer was on record. She did say the correspondence would be added to the file and referenced at the Judge’s discretion.
At the hearing, can my ex bring up all of her “answers” anyway? (The motion, by the way, is asking that my 16 year old daughter be allowed to move back full time with us in NC).
Yesterday the Mediation coordinator got the Judge to sign an order waiving mediation as my ex refused to respond. The Motion will now be scheduled for hearing I assume…?
Thanks again for your help in clarifying.
Yes, calendar days. Yes, it’s likely you will have a hearing soon. You can try to object to her entering in her letters into evidence as they were not officially filed Answers to the court. Good luck!
I would like to ask a follow up to this question.
I was mailed a motion to modify custody, and by your answer here I am assuming I had 30 days to respond. However, I received a letter from the court notifying me of a hearing, and I received this letter 20 days after the other party’s certificate of service date. Why was I not given the 30 days to respond? Do I still have time to respond? I am going to file a response within the time regardless, but I would like to know how they were able to schedule a hearing before my allowed 30 day response time.
Crystal read the post incorrectly and answered the question as if the person was responding to a complaint. There is no time frame for answering a motion, and you do not have to file a response if you do not want to. Depending upon the type of hearing, it can be scheduled a quickly as 5 days.