While divorce cases are common in Canada, every individual has his/her own story. There are many causes of divorce in Canada. But some such as money issues, infidelity, and domestic abuse are common. In most of these cases, the court has a way of deciding whether they can grant a divorce. But things are different in Canada. The federal Divorce Act has only one ground for granting the divorce, and that is the breakdown of a marriage. Again, this has to be proven under some circumstances that include a one-year separation, physical or mental abuse, and adultery. If your partner decides to call your marriage off and files a petition for divorce, would you have a response or would you file a counter-petition or both? If you want to file a counterclaim, it will help if you understand the necessary divorce law court procedures.
What is A Divorce Counterclaim?
A divorce counterclaim is a document in writing that allows a respondent to ask the court for certain relief. If your partner has filed for a divorce, you will definitely be served with a complaint about divorce. The best family lawyer in Toronto can help you take immediate steps required to protect your rights. You may feel frustrated and emotionally hurt, especially if you never expected this. However, if you fail to take the necessary actions, you may limit the amount of assets or any other thing you were to receive after the divorce process. Never ignore the divorce papers. The judge may have a default judgment against you. Again, failure to respond to the petition may not stop the divorce process; it only slows down the process leading to being more emotionally hurt. To draft a counterclaim, do the following:
- Fill out the counterclaim for divorce and make two copies
- File your forms at Queen’s Bench court– The copies will be stamped
- Remain with one, and send the other to your spouse
- Fill out an Affidavit, which acts as your evidence and file it at Queen’s Bench court. This will help the judge when making a decision.
Should I File An Answer Or A Counter-Petition?
Essentially, filing a counterclaim is an opportunity to either agree or object to what has been stated on the petition by your partner. If you decide only to file an answer, it may not be of benefit to you. You are supposed to file an answer and a counterclaim as a response to your partner’s complaint. The answer won’t allow you to write down your requests. From a legal standpoint, you should file both the answer and the counterclaim. Failure to file a counter-petition will only make you unable to reach a settlement agreement with your partner. If this fails, your divorce proceeds to trial. This becomes very difficult for you to present your case to the judge. For instance, if your partner requested alimony in their initial petition, you may file an answer stating your disagreement because you don’t believe you should support your partner financially. While this could be a chance to contend for the alimony payments, you won’t have the opportunity to request your own alimony. Such requests can only be made through a counterclaim. Thus, it’s crucial to file an answer together with a counterclaim to protect your rights. If you decide to draft a divorce counterclaim, below are some tips:
- Specify all your assets:Ensure you include all holdings to help the judge have a grasp of your marital assets. If you miss some, it can be challenging to split any property when the case goes to trial. This can also be used by the judge to determine whether the other spouse included all the assets in the divorce case.
- Request for spousal support:Failure to request for alimony in your counterclaim may make you unable to request for spousal support later.
- Have suggestions for child custody or child support:You need to request for child custody during a counterclaim. This may be difficult during trial if you only filed an answer.
- Pay attention to deadlines:A counterclaim has strict deadlines. You should file and serve the counterclaim within 30 days from the date you receive the divorce petition claim.
Contact A Family Lawyer
If your spouse has filed for a divorce, you can talk to a lawyer. Remember your spouse will be having a lawyer to safeguard their best interests. To navigate the counterclaim process successfully, you need to have a lawyer by your side. It’s vital to look for an excellent lawyer who specializes in family law. Dealing with a divorce without legal representation may result in costly mistakes. Again, the stress associated with the divorce situation may hinder you when making the right decisions. You need to have a legal professional who understands the complexity of the law.