Can he file for a divorce if I’ve already filed and served him papers?
Divorce is rarely friendly or easy. It can also be confusing, and definitely complicated. Some people might try to overload the court with paperwork to slow down the divorce when they don’t want it. Some might think ignoring it will slow the process. Others might think that the only way to have their concerns heard is to file their own petition for divorce.
Can he file for divorce after I’ve filed?
Technically, if the two of you are not on speaking terms and he did not know that you were going to file, he may be able to file his own petition. The chances of this happening are slim, but if the clerk’s records are not yet updated to reflect your filing, his paperwork could slip through.
However, if that were to happen, once it was noted that there were two filings for the same marriage, his would be dismissed. He would need to respond to your petition.
You can avoid this by serving him as quickly as possible once you’ve filed. New York law indicates that you have 120 days from the date you file to serve him, but the more quickly you serve him, the less time he has to file his own paperwork
So, that means he can’t file after I’ve served him?
Once you’ve filed and served him, he cannot file his own petition.
This does not mean that he can’t have a say, though. Once you have served him, he has 20 days (if personally served) or 30 days (if served by any other means) to respond to your petition. He must respond to avoid a default judgment against him. A default judgment means the divorce would be granted, and the things you’ve requested would be granted (custody, support, etc.).
His response to your petition is called an answer. An answer can admit that your complaint is true, deny that your complaint is true, or say that he doesn’t have enough information to deny or admit the truth of your complaint.
If he doesn’t agree with the grounds you’ve chosen for the divorce, his answer can include a counterclaim. A counterclaim would allege his grounds for the divorce. An example would be if you claimed the grounds for the divorce is adultery (he’s cheated/cheating on you), and he files a counterclaim saying that the grounds for the divorce is abandonment (you abandoned him).
Hiring a lawyer can be the best way to ensure that you not only meet all the legal requirements in filing for your divorce, but that you serve your spouse quickly and legally. A lawyer can also ensure that you get the best possible outcome for yourself, and help you ensure that everything is done smoothly, quickly, and with as little fuss as possible. It also eliminates the need for you to familiarize yourself with every last detail of New York’s divorce laws. You can trust your lawyer to ensure that everything is done properly and as easily as possible.