Incorporation of Settlement in Answer to Complaint

Have been separated for 5 years. Presented numerous proposed property settlement agreements to husband with no response. Now husband has filed a Complaint for Divorce with a stipulation for 50/50 equitable distribution but states that 50/50 is inequitable in this case and wants more plus he wants me to pay his attorneys fees. My question is this, can I take one of the proposed property settlement agreements and attach it to the Answer to Complaint with Counterclaim and reference it as Exhibit A or do all the terms in the Settlement Agreement need to be typed into the Answer to Complaint. Basically the relief I seek pertaining to distribution of assets/debts is already in the settlement agreement. Last question, since I have no choice but to represent myself due to economic hardship, am I able to contact spouse’s attorney directly to see if spouse would be willing to enter into property settlement agreement prior to my Answer being filed. It would make it so much easier if he would just sign a settlement agreement. We had been working with a pastor/counselor trying to mediate our division of property and assets but I presented multiple times multiple proposed settlement agreements with spouse not even being willing to respond much less sign the proposed documents. Thanks.

In your answer to the complaint, you do not need to provide the details as to what you think is a fair and reasonable equitable distribution settlement. You simply need to “deny” the paragraphs that state he wants an unequal division in his favor and wants you to pay for his attorney’s fees. Including a copy of the proposed separation agreement in your answer would be improper as this is a settlement offer and not something a judge or the courts can see.

Yes, you can contact your husband’s attorney directly and provide the most recent version of the separation agreement to him or her. And you can do this before you need to file your answer.

Anna Ayscue

Attorney with Rosen Law Firm Cary • Chapel Hill • Durham • Raleigh • Wake Forest

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