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Do I need to make a counter list of relief sought after being served with Divorce Papers? How do I counter the Plaintiff?

Huntington, NY |
Filed under: Divorce

I received A Summons with Notice "Action for Divorce". I am summoned to serve a notice of appearance upon my husbands lawyer. I printed that out, filled it out and plan on filing that. My husbands' lawyer made a decent sized list of "relief sought". It includes custody and things like directing the defendant to pay some counsel fees and such. I have no lawyer and am representing myself. I have very low income. We already went through the family court for child custody(I was already granted full custody), child support and spousal support(to me). We are just awaiting the support final order to arrive in the mail. My question is- Do I need to send any type of counter "relief sought" back to my husbands lawyer or is it all something that will just be discussed during the proceedings?

Attorney Answers 5

  1. Best answer

    If I read your question correctly, you already filed an Appearance and you now received a document titled the "Complaint." Typically, a person has 20 days to file an "Answer." Generally, any relief sought MUST be listed in the Answer or you risk waiving it. The Answer should also reference that there are two Family Court Orders that the Supreme Court should continue in the final divorce. A person cannot escape the findings of the Family Court and try to relitigate those issues in Supreme Court (though depending on the judge, they might entertain a request to modify those orders if your husband can meet the (higher) standard to modify).
    You should consider also filing a "counter-claim" to plead your own grounds for divorce in the same way his Complaint sets out his claims (typically this is done in the Answer).
    Once you submit your Answer, you may receive a Reply. You may also be faced with a Preliminary Conference (initial hearing). Supreme Court can be much more complex than Family Court, and you may want to consider hiring an attorney. If your husband makes more than you, you may be able to seek counsel fees from him.

    Best Regards,
    Morghan Leia Richardson, Esq.
    Richardson Legal PLLC
    31-08 Broadway, Suite 204
    Astoria, New York 11106
    Tel: 212-537-6744
    Fax: 212-574-3337

  2. If it was only a Summons and not served with a Verified Complaint, then you only need file a Notice of Appearance and Demand for Verified Complaint. You will then have to file a Request for Judicial Intervention to get the divorce matter before a judge - and from there determine if there are any assets to divide for equitable distribution. Once the final orders arrive, you will have to incorporate those into your Supreme Court Judgment of Divorce (survive without merging) and the uncontested divorce packet. Without more information, it is hard to go into all the nuances.

  3. You need to serve a Notice of Appearance and a Demand for Complaint.

    CAPTION Index No. ________

    Notice of Appearance and Demand for Complaint

    PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that the Defendant appears in the above entitled action, and that she demands that a Verified Complaint be served upon her within twenty (20) days and that all further papers in this action be served upon her at the office and post office address stated below.

    Your signature
    Your name
    Your address

    You really should consult with a local attorney who concentrates in matrimonial and divorce matters. On-line advice is no substitute for an in-person attorney consultation. Even if it is just to talk you through the final stages of the process, a consultation is probably worth the money.

    Attorney at Law
    Valatie, New York

    The information offered at this website is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for legal advice regarding your individual situation. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship.

  4. At this time you do not need to liost your demands. You need to demand a Complaint. Once you receive that you need to file an answer and possibly a counter claim. You can make your counter demands then. You really should contact a local attorney.
    Howard E. Knispel, Esq.
    Commack, NY

    The above is a general answer and is not considered legal advice. You should contact an attorney before proceeding to take any legal action, signing any papers or upon service of a summons. Howard E. Knispel 631-864-7589

  5. At this point you need to file the notice of appearance and demand for complaint so that you do not default. Once that is done, you will be served with a Complaint, to which you will have to file an answer and request relief yourself. Keep in mind that just because you already have a custody and support order from family court, that does not mean that your husband cannot request that those orders be modified. It’s a bad idea to represent yourself. You need an attorney.

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