During a divorce proceeding, your attorney will ask you to review and sign many different documents, beginning with your divorce complaint (if he or she doesn’t ask you to do this, find another attorney). You may be wondering why you have to do this, since, after all, isn’t that why you hired the attorney in the first place? While your attorney will be preparing the legal documents, you, as the actual party involved in litigation, are still responsible for making sure that the representations made in those documents are true and accurate. The Michigan court rules require every pleading, motion, affidavit and “other paper” to be signed by a party or her attorney. Divorce complaints with minor children must be signed by the party and his attorney. Certain motions such as those requesting entry of a temporary order (for spousal support, custody, or child support, for example) must be verified (signed under oath) by a party, even if he or she is represented by counsel. Your attorney should be involving you in the legal process and asking you to review pleadings before they are filed. I personally prefer to have clients sign most court documents unless strictly “legal” (like a motion to compel discovery). This ensures that the client has reviewed the document, confirmed its accuracy, and approved of its filing with the court. Why should you sign your pleadings, even if it’s not technically required by a court rule? Because it’s important.
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