Writing an Answer and Counterclaim by Jan 5

HELP!! I have to submit this to the Clerk of Court by Jan 5th.

I'm having a [b]huge[/b] difficulty with the format of my Answer and Counterclaim to my Husband's COMPLAINT FOR EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION. I have been unable to locate an example to follow. All of the examples I have found have been by a Wife filing for ED, Child Support, etc. We have no children together. He is the only one with an income and feels like I have no right to half of the retirement fund etc.

My Husband has some errors and lies in his “says and alleges” section. Furthermore, I’m unclear as to how specific to be in my Counterclaim for postseparation support (with arrears from date of separation?), Spousal Support, and distribution of our retirement account. (Do I ask for specific dollar amounts here, or is that in another step? I am in desperate, immediate need of financial support) Do I need to cite statutes in my Counterclaim? Since I do have so many questions, I thought I would post the actual ED complaint and ask questions item-by-item.

                                       [b]COMPLAINT FOR EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION

The Plaintiff, complaining of the Defendant, says and alleges:[/b]
(Here, do I say “The Defendant, answering of the Plaintiff, say and alleges:”, or how do I word it?)

[b]1. The Plaintiff is a citizen and resident of XXXX County, North Carolina, and has been for six months prior to filing this action.[/b]

(This is true, but when I answer this, do I leave it verbatim saying, “I Agree that…”, or reword this saying “The Defendant is a citizen…”, or do I save the “The Defendant is a citizen…” for the Counterclaim? I may be a citizen of XXXX County, but for the six months prior to his filing of this action, I have been a temporary resident of another county.)

[b]2. The Defendant is a citizen and resident of North Carolina.[/b]

(This is also a true statement. Do I leave this statement as-is in my answer saying “I Agree”, do I reword it saying Plaintiff instead, or do I reword it in my Counterclaim?)

[b]3. The parties were married to each other on May 8, 1997. The parties thereafter lived together as Husband and Wife until they separated on or about March 31, 2010, when it was the intent of both parties to remain living separate and apart.[/b]

(This part has errors, and lies in it. First of all, we were not married in 1997, it was 1999, and we had been living together as Husband and Wife since 10/1995. Around the first of April 2010, I went to my Mother’s house to put some distance between my husband and I while waiting to get a bed at the XXXXXX House, which is a recovery house for people with substance abuse problems -mine is alcohol. I was self-medicating an undiagnosed Major Depression illness). MY intent was to stay at the XXXXXX House for six months, go home and get my life and marriage back on track. I can even prove this, because I only had my mail temporarily forwarded for six months… at first, until I got these papers. We even spent an “intimate” day together in late May. It was never-EVER my intent to end my marriage, or to remain living separate and apart. My Husband blindsided me with that one… he just behaved like I would only be gone for the six months then basically “turned me out of doors” by refusing to let me move back home, and even tried to have me arrested for trespassing when I went home to get some more clothes. We were in no way legally separated at that time, and although I was not arrested, the Officer made me leave my property without my clothes. My question here is, how do I word my response, since I had NO intention of living separate and apart, and our date of marriage is wrong? Do I just say “I Deny the parties were married to each other on…” and write our real date of marriage, and my real intent of moving back home after six months, or do I save that for the Counterclaim?

[b]4. During their marriage, the parties acquired certain marital property, as defined by N.C.G.S. Section 50-20. The Plaintiff is entitled to an equitable distribution of the said marital property.[/b]

(He is referring to a double-wide mobile home that we purchased long before we were married (11/1997), and the home is in both his name, and my maiden name. The land the home sits on was given to my husband in 1998 prior to our marriage and is in his name alone. He has been trying for years to get me to take my name off of the house.) My question on this one is, “Do I leave this as-is, or do I reword it replacing Plaintiff with Defendant, or do I do that in the Counterclaim?”

[b]5. The Plaintiff is entitled to an unequal distribution of marital property in his favor. [/b]

His reasoning is that the land is all his (a gift from his Father), it’s two tracts side-by-side, and the house is on one of them, and even though the house is in both our names, he has made all the payments and upkeep. This is true, since I have been a completely dependent spouse, and he has always been the bread-winner and responsible for paying all the bills. Do I rewrite this saying that “the Defendant is entitled to an equal distribution of marital property”, or rewrite it saying, “The Defendant is entitled to an unequal distribution of marital property in her favor”, or do I say “the Defendant disagrees that the Plaintiff is entitled to an unequal distribution of marital property in his favor”? Could he also be referring to our bank and retirement accounts? In all honesty, I don’t want the house, but I deserve more than just the clothes on my back too.

I guess the bottom line of what I need to know is do I just “Agree” or “Disagree” or “Deny” (how do you word it) with each line item? Do I put my argument for the items I disagree with here, or do I save it for the Counterclaim?

[b]WHEREFORE, the Plaintiff prays the Court:

  1. For a judgment of equitable distribution of the parties’ marital property,
  2. For an unequal distribution of marital property in the Plaintiffs favor,
  3. For the costs of this action, and
  4. For such other and further relief as the Court deems just and proper.[/b]

Do I write an answer to any of this under the WHEREFORE, or do I just ignore it, leaving it off my answer, because I will be writing a “WHEREFORE, the Defendant prays the Court” in my counterclaim?

I realize that I am asking a lot here, but I am desperate, and grateful for any help and guidance you can give me.


Document review is beyond the scope of this forum. You do need to respond to the Complaint by answering each of the allegations contained therein by admitting or denying them. Below your response should be a counterclaim for ED, and spousal support if you are so entitled. I recommend you meet with a lawyer prior to filing the document. You may be entitled to reimbursement for a portion of your attorney’s fees incurred as a result of seeking spousal support.