Written by attorney Howard M Lewis

Counter Petition for Divorce

In a typical divorce, one spouse (the "petitioner") will often file petition for divorce (also called a "complaint") with the local court to begin divorce proceedings. The petition must then be served to the other spouse (the "respondent") for a response.

It is the responsibility of the respondent to answer the petition. While filing the answer, the respondent has several options:

  • A general denial. This implies that the respondent disagrees with what the petitioner has mentioned in the petition and is the most common form of answer to a divorce petition.
  • If the respondent desires to take one step forward, he can file a counter petition for divorce. Through this document, the respondent files a counter claim against the petitioner. The effect of filing a counter petition is that none of the partners can drop the litigation without both parties agreeing to it and the claims of both spouses are permitted to be heard by the court.
    • Unless the issues are directly stated in the petition or counter petition, the court need not hear the issues.

It is not mandatory that the respondent should file a response or a counter petition for divorce. The respondent may do so out of their own free will. The intention of the respondent is to safeguard their own legal interests. The allegations that are made in the divorce petition are regarded as true by the court if they are not specifically denied in the formal response.

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