Why Did My Lawyer File a Counter-Petition For Divorce? 

If you have filed a divorce with your spouse, you may be wondering why did my lawyer file a counter-petition for divorce? There are several reasons to do so. 

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Option 1: Answer the Petition 

The first step in a divorce case is filing an Answer to the petition, which tells the court your position as to each paragraph of information and demands requested by your spouse in the petition. You can either agree or disagree with each request and, if you do, simply state this agreement or disagreement on the pre-printed response forms that are available in your county or on a court website (or with the assistance of a family law attorney). 

A Response to the Petition is free to file, whereas a Counter-Petition for Divorce costs hundreds of dollars to prepare. It is important to note that even if you don’t dispute anything in the petition, you still need to file an Answer and a Counter-Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with your Answer. 

The reason for filing a Counter-Petition is to make your requests for relief, known as affirmative relief in Illinois, more specific and clear. This is especially important if you and your spouse can’t reach a settlement of the case outside of the courtroom, or if your spouse decides to go to trial and you want to present your side to the judge. If your answers and counter-petition for divorce aren’t filed, the Court will make orders based on the statements and requests made in your spouse’s original petition alone. This can lead to a judgment in your favor that isn’t as fair or equitable as you might have hoped for. You won’t be able to make the specific requests you wanted regarding your property, money and/or custody and visitation issues.