Our court date is Aug 16th. We were prepared to reach a settlement prior to this date. However, husband had to have a hip replacement due to an accident. He lives in North Carolina and may not be cleared to travel in time. We are very close to reaching an agreement. If we do, should an attorney draw up the papers or is a paralegal sufficient.? Would submittal of the papers cancel the court appearance? Any advice on how to proceed would be appreciated. Thanks, Kathy
You do not NEED an attormey or a paralegal to draft the paperwork, but it may be wise to seek legal counsel from an attorney to ensure that all relevant issues are addressed appropriately and that the agreement is properly executed. It is up to the General Magistrate whether you can reschedule the hearing- If you have a properly executed agreement prior to the court hearing, including a waiver of appearance at final hearing, and all the other necessary documents have been filed, the court date could probably be used as a final hearing and only the presence of one of you required.
Legal disclaimer: this response is not intended to create any attorney-client relationship and is based on the limited facts given and should not be relied on as legal advice. It is recommended that you consult with an attorney before taking any action based on the foregoing statements.
If you reach an agreement you will make the magistrate very happy because then he/she won't have to hear the issues and making hard rulings. He'll be glad to accept that agreement on the day of your scheduled court date. Anybody can "draw up the papers" as long as you both sign under oath that the deal is as it is presented. The tougher question is have you both been represented by a lawyer who knows what you're each entitled to as well as what you each might be obligated to do if you did not reach an agreement? The value of having a lawyer is not in "drawing up papers" but in explaining what the law says you are entitled to and obligated to and giving you advice on what you ought to ask for and/or demand. Now if you don't have an agreement signed and notarized and properly prepared, you will almost certainly be having a hearing because it's little late to be asking for a continuance. If the medical problem was an emergency, that would be different, but it seems to me a hip replacement could have been scheduled when it did not conflict with the court date.
you can either stipulate to a continuance or prepare the settlement papers and send them to the court for entry of the order. Either way let the magistrates office know what you are doing.
Years licensed, work experience, educationLegal community recognition
Peer endorsements, associations, awardsLegal thought leadership
Publications, speaking engagementsDiscipline