What To Expect On Your Prove-Up Court Date

For all parties involved, divorce is a stressful situation.  Besides the fighting over property, custody of the children and any other issues that arise during this separation, one of the most stressful worries many people have is what happens when they finally reach an agreement and have to appear in court for their “prove-up.”  The Law Office of Nicholas Baker hopes to pull the fear out of this court date by providing information as to what to expect on this day. 

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A prove-up is a court appearance whereby the parties have worked out their final agreement, memorialized in a written and signed Judgment and Marital Settlement Agreement, where the parties are questioned in front of the judge and court reporter on the specifics of the Marital Settlement Agreement.  In many instances, this can be a quick, non-confrontational court appearance.

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The Marital Settlement Agreement will lay out the specific distribution of assets and debts, along with direction as to how those assets and debts are to be apportioned between the parties.  This agreement will be covered step by step in front of the judge so that your answers and the agreement can be properly recorded.

In most instances, the client will be able to stand right next to their attorney, facing the judge, so their will be no crowd to stare into and make you nervous.  Attorneys that practice family law understand that at a prove-up, the attorney questioning their client may use leading questions (unlike during regular direct examination of witnesses).  Open-ended questions are thus not asked, making it as simple as possible on the clients.  Most clients, besides spelling their name for the record, need only answer “yes” a number of times.  An example of what a prove-up may look like is as follows:

Attorney:   “Please state and spell your name for the record.”
Client:       “Jackie Smith. S-M-I-T-H.”
Attorney:   “Your present address is 1117 N. Ashland Avenue, correct?”
Client:       “Yes.”
Attorney    “You are 30 years old?”
Client:       “Yes.”
Attorney:   “You have been a resident of the State of Illinois, county of Cook for at least the last 90-days?”
Client:       “Yes.”
Attorney:   “You were married to the Respondent on July 21, 2005?”
Client         “Yes.”
Attorney:    “And that marriage is registered in the City of Chicago, Cook County, Illinois?”
Client:        “Yes.”
Attorney:    “No children were born to you and your husband, you did not adopt any children and you are not now pregnant?”
Client:        “Yes.”
Attorney:   “You and your wife separated on or about August 1, 2008?”
Client:        “Yes.”

As you can see, this takes much of the stress out of appearing in court, as for the most part, all you need to answer is yes.  The Law Office of Nicholas Baker hopes that this helps to remove some of the fear that comes with having to appear in court.  Rest assured that our office will see you through this difficult time and will make sure that your prove-up goes as smoothly as possible.  Learn more by following the links—or better yet, fill out the form on this page or give us a call for your 100% free consultation!

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