In the movies, the delivery of final divorce papers signals is portrayed as a solid reason for couples to achieve closure. And in real life, many times it is the conclusion of divorce settlement proceedings that allows individuals to move on emotionally, physically and financially from their former marriages. However, issues of complex property division sometimes inspire couples to continue fighting long after an allegedly final settlement has been reached.
Take for example, a couple on the East Coast whose divorce has long been finalized. During the couple's divorce proceedings, one spouse was granted custody of their child and another spouse was granted custody of the remaining frozen embryos that were originally conceived to help the couple get pregnant with their first child and any future children they might have together.
The parent who has custody over the embryos has admitted that she plans on using them to conceive another child or more children. However, her former husband is likely appealing the custody decision in order to bar his former wife from conceiving more children who will biologically be his too.
This special case that could potentially be appealed again and again up to the United States Supreme Court is an extreme example of the battles that can be fought long after final divorce papers have been signed. However, the idea that a couple's disputes could linger beyond formal divorce proceedings is a surprisingly common one. It is important to receive experienced legal counsel to see you through to the end of formal divorce proceedings. But it is often just as important to seek counsel when you have a reason to engage in a dispute with your former spouse after final papers have been signed.
Source: NBC Washington, "Judge Grants Stay in Divorced Couple's Battle Over Embryos," Tracee Wilkins, Jan. 14, 2013