If you are going to Court to have an agreement approved as either part of an “Order of Separate Support and Maintenance” or divorce, you can expect to be asked the following questions (or something close thereto):
1. Is this your agreement
2. Do you believe it treats both of you fairly
(Keep in mind you may not like all of the agreement,
but overall, do you believe, under the circumstances as they
exist today or at filing, that it is fair)
3. Do you believe there was full financial disclosure?
(E.g., have you both filled out financial declarations?
If not, do you believe you are sufficiently aware of the other’s
income, assets and debts to be able to say that you believe the agreement
to be fair?)
4. Did you enter it freely and voluntarily
(Keep in mind that you may not like all of the agreement,
however, did anyone hold a gun to your head to make
you enter into it?)
5. If there are children, do you believe it to be in their best interests?
6. Were you under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or anything that would impair your ability to understand what you have entered into?
7. Are you asking the Court to approve this agreement and make it the Court’s Order?
8. And in doing so, you are waiving your right to have a trial on these issues, where you could testify, call witnesses, submit evidence, and have the Court decide these issues? You understand that if that happened, you could come out better on some things and worse on others
9. You also understand that once the agreement is approved it will become an Order?
10. If you wilfully violate an Order you could be held in contempt and there are sanctions associated with that, including up to one year incarceration, up to 300 hours of community service, up to $1500 fine, and payment of the other party’s attorney fees and costs?
11. You understand that if approved, the Order will become final? As such, the division of property and debt are final?
12. If alimony is waived as part of your agreement, that such waiver is final?
13. That support-related issues may be revisited if there is a substantial change in circumstances unless your agreement states otherwise?
14. That custody arrangements, if children are involved, are also subject to modification in the future if there is ever a substantial change in circumstances affecting them?
If your case also involves a divorce on a one year continuous separation, the following questions will be asked:
- Usually the Court will ask you, prior to starting the hearing, whether there is any possibility of reconciliation
- When did you separate
- Have you remained separated continuously since that time, without reconciliation or cohabitation
- are you asking the Court to grant you a divorce based upon a one year continuous separation
Your Witness on a One Year Separation Divorce (this should be someone who comes to your home regularly and has first-hand knowledge that you have been separated for more than one year, such as a friend, relative or neighbor):
- How do you know the party(ies)
- How long have you known the party(ies)
- Did you hear them testify that they separated around (date)
- does that dound accurate to you?
- Are you close to the party(ies)
- If they had reconciled, do you believe they would have told you?
- To your knowledge, have them remained separate and apart since that time
- Have you been to their home on a regular basis over the past year
- During any of those times, have you seen anything to indicate that they were residing together
- To your knowledge, have they in fact been separated for more than one year
If your maiden or former married name is being resumed, you can expect the Court or your attorney to ask you questions similar to the following:
- Do you desire to resume the use of your maiden or former married name?
- Are you doing so to avoid creditors?
- Have you filed bankruptcy in your current name
- Are you doing so to avoid criminal prosecution
- Are you aware of any warrants out in your current name
- Have you had your driver’s license suspended in your current name
- Are you listed with the state for abusing or neglecting children
- Are you under an order to pay support (alimony/child support) in your current name
- Are you on any terrorist watchlist
The Court or other counsel may always have additional questions.
Please be sure when you review your proposed Order that the spelling of the entire name (including middle name) is accurate.
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