If you are in the process of a divorce, you may have heard either the Judge or your attorney reference a “prove-up” date. Essentially, a “prove-up” date is the date the Judge will hear the major provisions of your Marital Settlement Agreement and Allocation Judgment, if applicable, and officially divorce you.
If you and your spouse have to an agreement on all of the issues, then the Court will likely hear about the provisions of the agreement from the Petitioner in the case (the person who filed first). The Judge may also ask the Respondent in the case if he/she has heard the other spouse’s answers and if his/her answers would be the same or substantially the same.
Although prove-ups can be relatively simple, depending on the case, a Judge may not approve your settlement terms. This can happen for several reasons. If only one party has an attorney and the terms of the agreement seem a little more in favor of the party with the attorney, the Judge may not feel so comfortable entering the agreement. Furthermore, although most Judges will accept a party’s representation that he/she is comfortable that all of other party’s income and assets have been disclosed, a Judge may want to see official financial statements to ensure disclosure.
As a result, regardless of whether there is an agreement, a Judge will have to make the finding that a settlement agreement is “not unconscionable”. In other words, that it is fair and equitable. Furthermore, a party may vacate a Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage after the prove-up date if a spouse finds that the other spouse intentionally failed to disclose an important asset. Thus, disclosing all of your assets is crucial in making sure that your divorce judgment becomes final.
Finally, your testimony will be transcribed and a transcript will be filed with the court within 28 days of the prove-up. As such, it is important to be completely honest and forthright. The Judge will want to make sure that you are comfortable with the agreement and are entering into it freely and voluntarily. If you feel uncomfortable with any of the provisions of the agreement, you may want to discuss this with your attorney prior to the “prove-up” date to avoid any issues in Court.