Post-Judgment Divorce Issues
It is not unusual for everyone to prepare for a trial and for settlement to be reached on the day of trial or shortly before. Often, it is the reality that this is the actual date that drives people to resolve the case. A settlement simply means that the parties reach agreement on all issues in the divorce and that the case is resolved based on that agreement. If a settlement is reached, the settlement is reduced to writing and the parties then sign the agreement, which becomes an Order. In a divorce, the actual Order is a Judgment of Divorce. Often, parties will reach agreement on some issues and not others. When that happens, the court hears the issues that are not resolved and decides only those issues.
Judgment Of Divorce
The last order in a divorce is the actual Judgment. The Judgment covers all issues of the parties, which include financial issues, spousal support, child support, custody, parenting time, real estate, debts and other personal property. The parties must review and sign the Judgment. If there are children in the divorce, the Friend of the Court must also sign the document. The last person to sign the Judgment before it becomes a final order is the judge.
After a divorce is finalized, it is up to each party to comply with aspects of the divorce decree, such as by selling the marital home and dividing the proceeds. If either spouse does not fulfill the directives of the decree, a family law attorney can help find the best method of enforcement. Also, in rare cases, a divorce decree may be modifiable through an appeal. This may happen if hidden assets are discovered or if other defects in the process leading to the divorce decree become apparent. Modifications of alimony, child support and/or child custody may also be appropriate when circumstances change significantly after the divorce is completed.
Each Divorce Case Is Unique In All Its Stages
Every divorce is different. Many people will try to give advice on how your divorce should go. However, the dynamics changes based on the lawyers involved, the judge involved, the facts and the parties. While there are some hard and fast rules, most things in family law just depend on unique factors of each case. There is nothing usual.
As you proceed through divorce, do your best to take a deep breath and try to take a day at a time. Things that seem like they should have been resolved a long time ago will seem to linger. Decisions will seem harder to make than usual. You will feel overwhelmed, frustrated and still very emotional. Try to remember, you are not the only one feeling these emotions. It is normal and simply means that you are trying the best you can — and making progress.
For more information, see:
- Beginning the divorce process
- Discovery and mediation in divorce
- Friend of the Court issues, determining parenting time and other child-related issues
- Divorce settlement conferences and pretrial conferences
Attorney Shon Cook is a family law mediator who can guide you through each necessary phase of your divorce thoughtfully, respectfully and compassionately.