Options for How You Can Best Respond to a Divorce Petition
When you receive a divorce petition from your spouse, it is your responsibility to respond. The way in which you respond, however, depends on what your spouse asks of the court in the petition and your own personal circumstances.
It is best to retain an attorney as soon as possible when you receive a divorce petition. Your attorney can advise you in your response and in all the processes ahead in your divorce.
It is important to keep in mind that there are very few circumstances in which not responding to the divorce petition will work out for you. Therefore, here are the options you have available:
- File an appearance: This is the step you will take if you do not object to anything in the petition, but still want to have an active role in determining some of the most important divorce-related issues, such as child custody, visitation, alimony, child support and division of marital assets and debts.
- File an answer: If you disagree with any of the claims or requests made in the divorce petition, you will file an “answer.” In this document, you address every claim and allegation individually. This is an especially common way to proceed if your spouse files fault-based reasons for seeking the divorce and you wish to deny those allegations. A failure to deny allegations in your answer essentially is an admission that they are true, which means you will have a hard time receiving as favorable of results in your divorce.
- File an answer with a counterclaim: In addition to filing an answer, you can file a counterclaim, in which you essentially create your own divorce petition containing allegations, grounds for divorce and requests of the judge. There are several reasons why you might file a counterclaim, the most common of which being the initial petition left out information or did not mention issues such as alimony.
For more information regarding how you can best respond to a divorce petition, speak with an experienced Long Island divorce lawyer at Bryan L. Salamone & Associates.