Read All The Papers Your Divorce Lawyer Files With Court Before He Files Them

Read Legal Papers Your Lawyer Prepares On Your Behalf Because The Court Will Hold You To What’s In Them

If you have a legal problem, it is not fun.  Getting a divorce is horrible.  And there is a tendency to avoid it or “turn it over to the lawyer.”  But, you can’t delegate your divorce entirely to your divorce lawyer.  You have to stay informed. Particularly with respect to papers that are prepared on your behalf such as the legal pleadings themselves (legal pleadings start with the petition for dissolution or the response to the petition– “the divorce papers” and include the orders to show cause, which often concern formal requests to the court to establish temporary child custody, child support and if appropriate spousal support during the pendancy of the divorce proceeding. The key to the order to show cause is your declaration.  You must carefully read your declaration in support of orders regarding child support, spousal support and child custody because you must sign the declaration and affirm that all the facts it contains are true.

There are other important documents as well, such as your preliminary declarations of disclosure and your responses to the legal questions (called Interrogatories) your spouse’s divorce attorney may demand that you answer under penalty of perjury.  Make sure the responses are accurate and the lawyer hasn’t included statements that make no sense in light of your facts or are flat wrong. 

You should also read the documents that your spouse’s lawyer prepares and files with the court.  Opposing counsel will provide copies of those documents to your lawyer.  Make sure you receive copies from your lawyer of every document he receives from the divorce attorney for your spouse.  After you read them, point out any discrepancies or falsehoods to your divorce lawyer.

A divorce is one of the most important events in your life.  Treat it that way.  You need to make sure you hire a divorce lawyer who will work hard for your best interests.  You need to read everything he proposes to file with the court and send to your spouse or the spouse’s divorce attorney.  If you don’t understand something written by your divorce lawyer or your spouse’s divorce attorney you need to ask your divorce lawyer for clarification. 

In the divorce court setting when a hearing is held you will have the right to testify, and if necessary correct a mistake.  If the mistake is about a date or other minor fact you won’t have a problem.  If you are represented by a divorce lawyer, the court will not accept a statement such as “I didn’t understand the paper I signed.”  Or, even worse “I didn’t read the paper.  I just signed it.”  Say something like this in court and expect a sharp rebuke from the judge deciding your marital dissolution matter. If it looks like you tried to deceive the court  in your papers you’ll lose credibility.  Your credibility is a critical to obtaining the best possible results in your divorce.  Once you lose credibility with the court it is hard to get it back.

Posted in Divorce

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