I am in pro per and petitioner my ex has a lawyer. We agreed to most items except the sale of our home, that I just paid off, a couple of individual retirements, attorney fees and spousal support received before my ex receives her half of one of my other retirements. At that time no support can be ever asked for. Her lawyer has said that he will draw up judgment on all issues but the court reserved jurisdiction on these items. Her lawyer also checked boxes 4.g. and 4.n. and 4.n.1. and 4.o. and 4.o.1
Did you agree to these terms and, is what your ex-wife's lawyer saying true about the court reserving jurisdiction on these issues? Is there a transcript? Without knowing those facts, I could not comment further. You could also just ask your ex-wife's attorney why the lawyer checked those boxes and what their understanding of the reasons for it are.
Ms. Johns is a lawyer although she is not your lawyer unless you have consulted with her and signed a letter agreement or fee contract confirming her representation. This post does not constitute legal advice and no attorney-client relationship results.
Stop. If she has a lawyer, you need to spend the money to hire a lawyer to review your documents too. There are too many ways to screw up this up, and paying an attorney for a few hours of their time may be the best money you've ever spent.
If you have a house (paid off, no less!), retirement accounts, and have spousal support issues, then you would be well-served to pay a lawyer to review the judgment before you sign off on it. It is a legally binding Final Judgment and should not be taken lightly.
You may want to consider paying her a lump sum for spousal support. You may want to structure the transaction to save you from paying capital gains taxes for the appreciated value of the family home should you decide to sell it after the divorce is finalized. You definitely want to have an end date for spousal support and most probably do not want the court to retain jurisdiction over this issue.
Spend the money--you will save yourself litigation costs in the future. A competent family law attorney will be able to help you understand the importance of the choices you are making. If, after you are fully informed, you decide this is the best deal you can negotiate, then great--sign the Judgment. However, there may be things you are missing--and wouldn't even know how to spot unless you are a family law attorney.
A competent and ethical attorney will be able to draft the judgment to avoid litigation fights in the future. If issues are "reserved" then you may simply be postponing a costly litigation down the road. Please be careful.
Good luck to you.
By answering this question, the Law Offices of Cathleen E. Norton does not intend to form an attorney-client relationship with the asking party. The answers posted on this website should not be construed as legal advice. The Law Offices of Cathleen E. Norton does not intend to make any representations about your family law matter, but rather, seeks to provide general information to the public about family-law related matters. You should consult with an attorney to discuss the specific facts of your case. Thank you.
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