Rules of Domestic Relations Procedure

Rules of Domestic Relations Procedure  Domestic Relations Procedure Rule 8: General rules of pleading

Table of Contents

(a) Claims for relief

A pleading which sets forth a claim for relief, whether an original claim, counterclaim, cross-claim, or third-party claim shall contain (1) a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, and (2) a demand for judgment for the relief to which he deems himself entitled. Relief in the alternative or of several different types may be demanded.

Identical to Mass.R.Civ.P. 8(a)

(b) Defenses: Form of denials

A party shall state in short and plain terms his defenses to such claim asserted and shall admit or deny the averments upon which the adverse party relies. If he is without knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth of an averment, he shall so state and this has the effect of a denial. Denials shall fairly meet the substance of the averments denied. When a pleader intends in good faith to deny only a part or a qualification of an averment, he shall specify so much of it as is true and material and shall deny only the remainder. Unless the pleader intends in good faith to controvert all the averments of the preceding pleading, he may make his denials as specific denials of designated averments or paragraphs, or he may generally deny all the averments except such designated averments or paragraphs as he expressly admits; but, when he does so intend to controvert all its averments, he may do so by general denial subject to the obligations set forth in Rule 11. The signature to an instrument set forth in any pleading shall be taken as admitted unless a party specifically denies its genuineness. An allegation in any pleading that a place is a public way shall be taken as admitted unless a party specifically denies such allegation.

Identical to Mass.R.Civ.P. 8(b)

(c) Affirmative defenses

In pleading to a preceding pleading, a party shall set forth affirmatively accord and satisfaction, arbitration and award, assumption of risk, contributory negligence, discharge in bankruptcy, duress, estoppel, failure of consideration, fraud, illegality, injury by fellow servant, laches, license, payment, release, res judicata, statute of frauds, statute of limitations, waiver, and any other matter constituting an avoidance or affirmative defense. When a party has mistakenly designated a defense as a counterclaim or a counterclaim as a defense, the court on terms, if justice so requires, shall treat the pleading as if there had been a proper designation.

Identical to Mass.R.Civ.P. 8(c)

(d) Deleted


(e) Pleading to be concise and direct; consistency

(1) Each averment of a pleading shall be simple, concise, and direct. No technical forms of pleading or motions are required.

(2) A party may set forth two or more statements of a claim or defense alternatively or hypothetically, either in one count or defense or in separate counts or defenses. When two or more statements are made in the alternative and one of them if made independently would be sufficient, the pleading is not made insufficient by the insufficiency of one or more of the alternative statements. A party may also state as many separate claims or defenses as he has regardless of consistency and whether based on legal or equitable grounds. All statements shall be made subject to the obligations set forth in Rule 11.

Identical to Mass.R.Civ.P. 8(e)

(f) Construction of pleadings

All pleadings shall be so construed as to do substantial justice.

Identical to Mass.R.Civ.P. 8(f)

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