Divorce Guide

Divorce Guide


Counter Divorce Petition


Once the original petition is filed and served, the respondent must file an answer within 30 days. The answer in many cases is a general denying of the accusations stated in the divorce petition. The answer cannot be accepted unless it is filed with a pleading called a counter divorce petition. It is just like the original petition, including information of the parties, reason of the divorce, children, etc. The counter divorce petition must be served on the other spouse. Once the counter petition is filed with the answer, the respondent will be then called the counter petitioner. Once a counter petition is filed, both parties have to agree or dismiss the case.

Terminology for Counter Divorce Petition:

The person filing the petition is petitioner and the person on whom the petition is served is the respondent. When a counter petition is filed, the following terminology is used.

  1. The person who initially filed the divorce petition, later becomes the counter respondent
  2. The person filing the counter petition for divorce is known as the counter petitioner.

You can save your rights and future in the best possible way by understanding what is counter divorce petition.

Concept of Counter Divorce Petition:

The petitioner serves the respondent with the original divorce petition. It is the duty of the respondent to answer the petition as soon as he/she is served. The petitioner has the following options.

  • A denial made by the respondent implies that he/she is not agreeing with what the petitioner has stated in the petition. This is the most common form to answer
  • The respondent files the counter petition for divorce as a counter claim against the petitioner. The effect of filing this form is that none of the spouses can withdraw the case without both spouses agreeing to it. The claims made by the spouses are heard by the court
  • Note that unless the issues are directly stated, the counter petition cannot be filed.

It is not necessary that the respondent has to file the response or a counter petition. The aim of the respondent is to safeguard his/her own legal interests. Note that the accusations made in the original petition are regarded as true by the court, if they are not questioned by the other spouse in a legal way. If the petitioner voluntarily withdraws the petition, the case will end after the respondent files a counter petition for divorce.

Things to be included in Counter Divorce Petition:

  • Petitioner and respondent names
  • Facts and accusations to be stated in the petition which the respondent does not accept and which the petitioner does not
  • On which topics the respondent agrees
  1. Spousal support
  2. Custody
  3. Access
  4. Costs
  5. Divorce
  6. Child support
  • Pension benefits if any should be mentioned to make a division of pension possible
  • Change of name if one wants to.

You have to file the counter petition in front of a notary public. File the counter divorce petition with the court clerk where the divorce case is pending. The counter petition becomes a part of that initial case. It needs to be served on your spouse in the same manner that the original divorce petition was served on you. The clerk arranges for the sheriff's office to serve it to the other party.


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