In my previous blog post, I mentioned the phrase “Service’. In divorce cases, service of the process follows the form set out in the Civil Rules. The document called “Summons” is a form the Court provides that is sent to, or “Served” on the other party. The Court system has designed the summons so that it gives notice to the person who receives it that they must respond, to “Answer” the summons. The summons will tell them that they have twenty days in which to respond after they receive the summons.
There is also a document that lawyers prepare called “Entry of Appearance and Waiver.” A person who receives a summons, and doesn’t want to dispute the requests set out in the petition can agree to the judgment requested by signing an “Entry of Appearance and Waiver” as well as the settlement agreement. If they also sign the “Verified Disclosure Forms” that the Petitioner files with the petition for dissolution of marriage, then the person responding will have a) agreed to the truthfulness of the statements in the petition, and b) agreed to the relief requested by the petitioner, and c) agreed that the property listings, values, debts, and non-marital interests listed by the Petitioner are correct, and d) agreed that the court should grant the divorce, and resolve the case in its entirety.
After receiving all of this the Judge will review the file, and determine if the Decree should be granted. Usually, the Judge will agree, and the case is resolved. The Court will not further address most issues after the Decree is entered. The Judge will always retain the ability to address child custody, parenting time, and child support. The Court may also continue to address further orders that may be necessary to effectuate the terms of the parties' settlement agreement, such as entering “Qualified Domestic Relations Orders,” which are sometimes referred to as “QDROS”. QDROS will be addressed in a subsequent blog post.
If you are contemplating a divorce, and think you may have an uncontested divorce, call my office and we can discuss your options. Sometimes, matters that may seem contested can be worked out, and an experienced family attorney can assist you. My Daughter and I are both experienced family lawyers. My Daughter, Katie, was a Family Court Prosecutor for three years, before joining me in our family law firm. I have practiced family law since entering private practice in 1985. I also handle personal injury, small business representation, and other legal issues that may come up in your life requiring you to seek legal representation. Please call me for an appointment.