Response to Civil Summons & Counter Claim


#1

My husband was served with the civil summons on May 17. My court date is this Friday, July 2. Until yesterday, he had filed no response to the claim.

Yesterday, he left a handwritten “Response to Civil Summons and Counter Claim” letter in my mailbox. In it, he responded and inserted his ‘counter claim’ for equitable distribution for ‘all marital property’. This does not appear to have been formally filed at the couthouse (and wasn’t even typed), nor was it prepared by a lawyer. Can I disregard this? Doesn’t this request for equitable distribution have to be filed to be valid?


#2

The response should have been filed with the court on June 18. His handwritten response, if unfiled, will not be included in the court’s file.


#3

Also - looking back at the civil summons, it says he must serve a copy of the written answer to me within 30 days after he has been served. It has been 43 days. I checked with the Clerk of Courts and he did actually file the answer at the couthouse yesterday. The person i spoke with said it would be up to a judge to decide whether or not to accept the answer since it was filed after the 30-day deadline. How worried should i be about this?


#4

deadline. How worried should i be about this

You should not be worried even if the judge does accept the answer. The pleadings (Complaint, Answer and Counterclaim) are intended to put the court, and the other side on notice of what the party who filed intends to prove and what they would like the court to order. A ruling will not be made on the pleadings in this case, you will each have your chance to be heard in court.


#5

I know his intention was to get something filed to preserve a claim for ED which he could pursue after the divorce is finalized (July 2). Would the fact that he didn’t file the answer within 30 days nullify that claim? Also - he left a copy of it in my mailbox while i wasn’t home - didn’t mail it and has no have proof of service. Wouldn’t he have had to mail it certified mail or send the sheriff? There were also errors on his response, and it wasn’t signed or dated. (Do these things matter?)


#6

I know his intention was to get something filed to preserve a claim for ED which he could pursue after the divorce is finalized (July 2). Would the fact that he didn’t file the answer within 30 days nullify that claim? Also - he left a copy of it in my mailbox while i wasn’t home - didn’t mail it and has no have proof of service. Wouldn’t he have had to mail it certified mail or send the sheriff? There were also errors on his response, and it wasn’t signed or dated. (Do these things matter?)


#7

His claim is not necessarily nullified, the judge will decided whether or not to allow the late filing to preserve his claim for ED.

An answer and counterclaim need not be mailed via certified mail, or served by sheriff.