Do I have to attend the finalization of my divorce?

Whether or not one has to attend finalization of the divorce depends on the situation. Generally, the
petitioner (the person who filed) has to attend, so they can prove their case. If the respondent is
represented by counsel or otherwise signs off on all documents and consents to the divorce, the
Respondent does not have to appear. In some circumstances, the respondent may appear in lieu of the
petitioner, but generally speaking, a counter-petition for dissolution must be on file and the respondent
would use that to prove up their case. However, it is always in everyone’s best interests to appear for
the prove up, no matter if they are petitioner or respondent, or if they are represented by counsel or
not. Some people choose not to go, and the divorce can still be finalized. However, having both parties
there to assure the court that they agreed to everything, they were not coerced, they did not sign under
duress, they made a full and accurate disclosure of all of their debts and liabilities, etc., is in everyone’s
best interests. It keeps a good, clear record of the proceedings for a court report by having both parties
there. Plus, it makes it more difficult for the other person to say they never signed, or never agreed, if
they come back later to try and vacate the divorce. However, the divorce can still be finalized with only
one party present.

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