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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 111514
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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Wife filed divorce on ***** ***** 7, 2015. We have a signed

Customer Question

Customer: Wife filed for Absolute divorce on ***** ***** 7, 2015. We have a signed & notarized Separation Agreement that was filed with the court in July, 2015. There is a 2nd or maybe this is 3rd hearing (previous postponed by the judge). I was out of country on Dec 18 and judge rescheduled for ***** ***** 4 even though she was told I would not be back until ***** ***** 16. Claimed she couldn't extend past the one year filing date. Wife is now trying to dispute parts of Sep agreement. Judge told her to get a lawyer. I can't be there on ***** ***** 4. Will she be able to get Sep Agreement modified when I fail to appear or will hearing for what reads as "uncontested divorce hearing" be dismissed. What should I do.
JA: Thanks. Can you give me any more details about your issue?
Customer: Not sure what more I can say. She may be looking for more money. She claims I'm in violation of SEP Agreement. I have paid and adhered to the terms.
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Customer: Yes
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Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 11 months ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
If you do not show up in court, then you had better either get a court granted continuance or have a lawyer show up in your place, because if you just do not show up, the court is going to believe you have no interest in objecting to her claims and will grant them. Then you would have to fight to get them vacated.
If she signed the separation agreement, if you show up and object or have an attorney show up an object, the court is going to hold her bound to the agreement as any other contract and will not allow her to change it unless the judge finds that the provision she is complaining about is "unconscionable" which means "beyond unfair" to her.
Failing to show up in court or send an attorney is seen by the court as disrespect to the court and/or disinterest in the issue before the court, which is why you could end up losing this if you do not show up or do not get an attorney to show up or at least file a continuance and get a short continuance until you can show up.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I believe I said the notice if hearing/trial says for: uncontested divorce hearing. Are you telling me that the judge can modify a previously submitted signed SEP agreement at this type if hearing. I am not contesting the divorce, but for sure I would contest any changes to the SEP Agreement. 2 previous hearings were postponed because wife went before judge and said I wasn't adhering to the terms of Agreement. Both times the judge said to her "get a lawyer". Now I'm out of country and have no idea if she plans to be with a lawyer on Monday which is noted as Final postponement. Reason it is final is cuz she filed back on jan 7 and 1 year has passed. I thought if she wasn't there to simply get the divorce and was contesting the SEP Agreement that was a totally separate issue and at most case will be dismissed and a new filing will need to be done.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 11 months ago.
Than you for your reply.
My answer encompassed the entire scenario. In the last part of my answer I covered your spouse signing an agreement and I said that if she signed an agreement agreeing to that amount, then the court is not going to change that unless they find the agreement was fraudulent or it was unconscionable when she signed it. It is treated like any other contract.
You showing up in court is a completely different issue. She is complaining and contesting something so you have to get a continuance or show up to object in court or the court considers you do not care about her objection.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
The notice is for an UNCONTESTED divorce hearing. Why should I need to be there.
We agreed months ago to a SEP Agreement. How was I to know she was going before the judge now to complain about the Agreement. Shouldn't I receive some kind of notice that it is being contested / challenged. I'm out of country. No way I get a lawyer by Mon morning.
I can have a letter dropped off at the court stating my position and why I'm not there
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 11 months ago.
Thank you for your reply.
You would need to be there because she is trying to object to the agreement and you need to be there to object to her contesting the agreement and to argue that she signed it and it was a valid agreement and now she is bound to it.
You can fax a letter to the court to ask the court if any hearing is going to be held on her objections then you wish for that to be scheduled at another time, since this court date was to approve the agreement and issue the divorce.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I have prepared a letter basically stating what you just said. I will hand deliver it to the clerk marked urgent.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 11 months ago.
Thank you for your reply.
You need to do this in form of a MOTION, and you need to send a copy to her as well as filing it with the clerk (and a courtesy copy to the judge). A letter to the clerk even marked urgent will not get you what you are seeking, because every request of the court must be done by a motion and copies sent to all parties as well as filed with the court.