The uncontested divorce hearing is often a culture shock to the participants. While there is a great deal of ceremony around the actual act of marriage, divorce itself has all the charm of a trip to the Registry of Motor Vehicles.
Everyone needs to attend the hearing. When the case name is called the clients and their attorneys stand at the counsel table. The Judge may or may not read the agreement. The attorney for the plaintiff (remember the plaintiff? He or she is the one who filed) asks her client a series of very simple questions, name, address, date of marriage, date of separation, etc. The Judge will ask the same questions if there aren’t attorneys present and then the Judge will ask each party if the financial statements are accurate and if they believe the other party’s financial statement is also accurate and then the Judge asks a series of questions designed to preclude anyone in the future attempting to set the agreement aside due to buyer’s remorse, i.e. do you understand the agreement? Did anyone coerce you into signing? Do you think it’s fair and reasonable? ..etc. Then the Judge explains how long it will be ’til the divorce is final (depending on the type of filing, 90 days or 120 days). She then wishes everyone well and the divorce is over.
Having stood next to countless clients at this moment I know that it feels overwhelming and somehow anticlimactic. There is no real recognition that this is a truly life altering event. Be prepared, even if you are happy to have the process itself end, to be a bit shaken by the actual hearing.