Should I File a Response to Divorce in New York?

Getting served with divorce papers can be a nerve-wracking and emotional experience, even if you knew they were coming. 

You may also be faced with concerns about how to respond to the petition … and whether you need to respond at all. In most cases, responding to the divorce petition is prudent, even if you agree that divorce is the right step for your marriage and the terms laid out in your spouse's divorce petition.

Read: 6 Important Things to Know If You’re Getting Divorced in New York

Should you file a response to a divorce petition in New York?

Filing a response to a divorce petition is important for several reasons. 

First, it allows your side of the story to be heard in court. Your response should include any facts and legal arguments that support your position. It should raise any defenses you may have against claims made by your spouse, the petitioner. 

Second, if the petitioner requests certain remedies, filing a response can help you articulate why those remedies should not be granted. For example, you might object to your spouse requesting full custody of your children. 

Finally, if you don’t file a response, a default judgment will be entered against you. This means that all the terms requested by your spouse will be enforced without taking into consideration your views or interests.

Read: What Is Default Divorce in New York?

What happens if you don’t file a response?

If you do not file a response to a divorce petition, the only information the judge will have to go on when deciding how to split up your marital assets will be what your spouse tells them. If you want your say, filing a response is the way to have your voice heard.

Is there a benefit to not responding to a divorce petition in New York?

Not really. The only time it may make sense is if you and your spouse agree on all terms of the divorce. Then, you may consider filing a joint petition for dissolution of marriage. This is an uncontested divorce where you both agree on all terms. 

However, it almost always makes sense to respond to the divorce petition to protect your rights. If you don't respond, you're essentially waiving your right to participate in the divorce. 

Even if you agree on all terms in your spouse's petition, you can respond saying that, protecting your rights in the process.

Hello Divorce is well-versed in New York divorce law. We’re here to help you with a menu of straightforward online divorce plans and a host of flat-rate services, including professional divorce mediation and financial planning, to help see you through your divorce to the other side.

Suggested: Complete List of Divorce Forms for New York


Divorce Content Specialist & Lawyer
Divorce Strategy, Divorce Process, Legal Insights

Bryan is a non-practicing lawyer, HR consultant, and legal content writer. With nearly 20 years of experience in the legal field, he has a deep understanding of family and employment laws. His goal is to provide readers with clear and accessible information about the law, and to help people succeed by providing them with the knowledge and tools they need to navigate the legal landscape. Bryan lives in Orlando, Florida.