Prove-Up Hearings      So you and your spouse have reached a settlement agreement and the end to your litigation is near.  What are the final steps in order for the divorce to be finalized?  What happens at this “prove-up”?

            Once the parties have negotiated all the terms, put forth said terms in an agreement referred to as a Marital Settlement Agreement, executed the agreement, and prepared all the corresponding court documents, your attorney will obtain a prove-up date for your matter and notice will be sent out to the other party.  At the scheduled prove-up hearing, the respective attorneys will ask you a series of questions regarding your marriage and grounds for dissolution.  The attorneys will also go through the Marital Settlement Agreement and outline or summarize the property distribution and division of debt between the parties, maintenance provisions, and all other relevant terms.  Your attorney will ask if you understand the settlement agreement and if you entered into it willingly and voluntarily.  The opposing attorney also has an opportunity to ask his or her client questions regarding the agreement to likewise ensure that the client understands the agreement.  At the conclusion of the testimony, the judge will announce his or her ruling and summarize the facts of the marriage and the grounds for dissolution.  If the judge finds the agreement to not be unconscionable, the judge will then enter the Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage incorporating the parties’ Marital Settlement Agreement.  You will obtain a copy of the stamped Judgment for your own records and this document will show that you are officially divorced.

Throughout this proceeding, a court reporter will be present and will record everything that is said, including the testimony of the parties, the attorneys’ line of questioning, and the judge’s ruling.  It takes some time before the court reporter prepares a completed transcript of the hearing.  Thereafter, your attorney, upon receipt of the prove-up transcript, should send to you a copy of the same for your own records.

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