Most people think of divorce as a bitter battle to end a marriage. This is usually what is portrayed on television and in movies, and sadly, it can be the reality for many families. Luckily, though, not all divorces are hostile. Some couples agree to end their marriage and are able to work through all of the issues related to dividing their household without interference from the court. This is known as an uncontested divorce.
What Can You Avoid with an Uncontested Divorce?
In an uncontested divorce, both spouses not only agree to end their marriage, but they agree how to end it. There are
no fights over custody, visitation, spousal or child support, or division of property. In some cases, a divorce is uncontested because both spouses want to divorce and they share no assets and are not parents. In other cases, both spouses simply agree on how to divide assets and deal with their children.
Since uncontested divorces are “easier” for everyone involved, many attorneys encourage their clients to attempt an uncontested divorce first. It can save a great deal of time and money, but more importantly, it’s less stressful and causes less long-term damage to a family.
If you are interested in an uncontested divorce, you and your attorney will first discuss the various issues involved in ending you marriage. He or she can help you create a proposal to submit to your spouse and his or her attorney, or a time can be scheduled where all of you come together to discuss the issues at hand.
The proceedings in an uncontested divorce can turn heated very quickly, which is why it’s important to work with an attorney who is experienced and able to keep the discussions focused and respectful. Even under the best of circumstances, the end of a marriage can be tumultuous. If you are able to review your options in a non-threatening and open-minded manner, it makes everything much easier and increases the odds the divorce will remain uncontested and civil until the very end.
It’s important that both spouses do their best to be fair and understanding during the proceedings. Many attorneys recommend splitting property 50/50 so there is no question about whether or not things are fair. It’s also important to consider your spouse’s relationship with the children and do everything you can to make sure this relationship is nurtured during and after the divorce. Even if you are having hard feelings about the divorce, respecting your ex’s and your child’s relationship can go a long way to ensuring the divorce process is as smooth and possible.
Do I Need an Attorney for an Uncontested Divorce?
It is legal to divorce without the support and guidance of an attorney, but it’s rarely recommended. There are too many things that can go wrong; and even if the divorce is uncontested and you and your ex are getting along, you are putting your own well-being at risk by not having legal representation. And if you have assets and/or you are a parent, it’s essential you have someone in your corner looking out for your best interest and protecting your rights.
Some people are reluctant to hire an attorney in an uncontested divorce because it might be seen as a hostile move. The truth is working with an attorney is often the thing that keeps hostility from arising. Legal representation for both spouses that has experience dealing with uncontested divorce improves the likelihood that problems won’t escalate during the process.
There are also plenty of instances in which, despite the amicable nature of the divorcing spouses, the situation is just legally complicated. There are many situations – often financial – which are difficult to understand and include a lot of details and loose ends. An attorney is not only protecting your rights, he or she is also there to answer questions and help you and your ex sort through complicated legal issues.
Won’t an Attorney Earn More If My Divorce Escalates into a Heated Battle?
Attorney often bill hourly, which means the longer a divorce takes the more an attorney stands to make. Unfortunately, there are divorce attorneys out there who will encourage you to “not back down” and avoid compromise in order to pad their own pockets. Their goal is to create a fight so they can resolve the fight through the longest, most expensive means possible. You should never choose to work with an attorney you feel is pushing you into something that makes you uncomfortable.
Who Should Consider an Uncontested Divorce?
It’s possible for just about every couple to have an uncontested divorce, with the exception of marriages in which violence or abuse was an issue. As long as a couple both agree to divorce and they can work through the issues brought on by the divorce, uncontested divorce is possible.
It’s not necessary for divorcing spouses to agree on every single issue from the get-go. This is a divorce myth, so don’t assume that if you aren’t seeing eye-to-eye with your spouse over one or more issues, you’ll be ineligible for an uncontested divorce. The truth is experienced attorneys can help you iron out many of the issues at hand, as long as you and your spouse are interested in working together to reach a mutually satisfactory outcome.
There are many cases in which, due to ego or principle or some other factor, one or both spouses is reluctant to compromise. After all, when a marriage is ending, who would want to be the first person to play the good guy or girl role and give in?
Often in these cases, the value of an uncontested divorce is the money that is saved. As much as you would like to get your own way and walk away from your marriage feeling victorious, willingness to compromise can save you tens of thousands of dollars and put you in a much better position to start your new unmarried life.
If you’d like to know more about uncontested divorce or you need to speak to someone about legal representation in divorce, contact Remington & Dixon at 704-247-7110.