Woman trying to understand an answer and counterclaim in her divorce.

Georgia Divorce 101: What Is an Answer and Counterclaim?

Sometimes, when a couple goes through a divorce, they are in complete agreement from the get-go regarding how they want their marriage to end, and they resolve all their issues prior to filing their divorce documents with the court. This is rare. Most divorces are adversarial and begin when one spouse files a complaint for divorce against the other in court. The attorney for the spouse on the receiving end of the complaint then responds by filing an answer and counterclaim. Whether you are seeking a divorce in Georgia or have been served with a complaint, it’s important that you understand the process of responding to a divorce complaint. Below is an overview of this important part of the Georgia divorce process.  

Responding to a Divorce Complaint

The official response to a spouse’s divorce filing is called the answer and counterclaim. The first part is the answer, in which the recipient responds to the accusations raised in the complaint in one of the following ways:

  • Admit the accusations
  • Deny the accusations
  • Admit the accusations in part or deny them in part
  • State that there isn’t enough information provided to provide a proper answer 

The second part of the answer is the counterclaim. The counterclaim outlines what the responding spouse wants to achieve in the divorce while asking the court for relief. In addition, the counterclaim allows the responding spouse to present his or her own grounds for divorce and to make any reasonable requests that he or she wants the court to have on record.

What Happens Next? 

After the recipient of the divorce complaint files an answer and counterclaim, he or she is protected from the issuance of a default judgment. The court only files a default judgment when a divorce complaint is filed, and the recipient fails to appear at a scheduled hearing. In such a scenario, the petitioner usually gets what he or she asks for in the complaint. This is why it is imperative to properly respond to a divorce complaint with the assistance of an experienced Georgia divorce attorney. Further, by filing an answer and counterclaim, the recipient’s desires for the resolution of all issues are on record with the court. 

Contact a Lithonia divorce attorney today 

Whether you are seeking a divorce or have been served with divorce papers, you need an experienced attorney on your side. Without an experienced divorce attorney in your corner, the divorce process can be nearly impossible to navigate. At the law office of E.N. Banks-Ware, we will guide you through the divorce process while working to help you achieve the best outcome possible in your Georgia divorce case. Therefore, if you need assistance of any kind with your divorce in Lithonia County or elsewhere in Georgia, please contact us today for a free consultation.