An ‘Answer’ is a formal document that the respondent files with the court. The respondent is only required to do this if they disagree with something that the petitioner is asking for in the divorce, or if the petitioner’s documents are unclear and the respondent is not sure what is being asked. An Answer may also be filed if the respondent wishes to add an issue not already being dealt with. The respondent must file an Answer within:
- 15 days if they have been served with the court documents within Nova Scotia
- 30 days if they have been served with the court documents within Canada (but outside the Province of Nova Scotia)
- 45 days, if they have been served with the court documents outside of Canada
These time periods come from the Nova Scotia Civil Procedure Rules. In the Supreme Court (Family Division), the respondent may apply to the court to extend the amount of time they have for filing their Answer. This form may be used. Other documents may be required. This application must be approved by a judge. Respondents in the Supreme Court (General Division) do not need to apply to file a late Answer.
There are special rules about how to calculate the number of days, as the days to be counted are usually business days. Generally when counting days, you don’t count the day on which the person was served, or any days on which the court is closed (for example, weekends and statutory holidays). For more information, see Civil Procedure Rule 94.02. It is important that the petitioner keep track of the number of days – the court will not do this for you.
If the respondent files an Answer, they will have to pay a fee for this, and they must have the Answer served on the petitioner in most cases (just like the Petition was served on them).