Uncontested divorce has become a very popular way of obtaining a divorce. For many people, it is synonymous with DIY divorce. A number of couples seeking to end their marriage opt directly for uncontested divorce. It is a common perception that the process consists of filing the forms and related papers with the court clerk and then waiting for the decree to arrive.
Uncontested divorce is not for every couple. Although vastly preferred to long drawn out legal battles, a surprising number of applications for uncontested divorces are rejected yearly. The main reason for this is the simple fact that many of the applications fail to satisfy the relevant authorities that the couple is in agreement on all major issues.
Every divorce involves four issues that are central to the entire proceedings:
1. Division of assets including all present and future incomes
2. Division of liabilities including marital debts and all payments due present and future
3. Custody of children
The entire point of the legal procedure is to make sure that these four issues are resolved according to the law and that each spouse gets their just share in assets and liabilities.
When the level of conflict between spouses is low enough, they have the opportunity to work out a plan that addresses these four issues. The spouses have the complete knowledge about their financial and domestic arrangements. This is why all experts of family law stress the fact that spouses should sit down and work out a solution of the four questions. If there is any disagreement on any of the four issues, an uncontested divorce becomes impossible and the judge gives a date for contested divorce case.
The Benefits of Uncontested Divorce:
One of the most important benefits of uncontested divorce is the savings in money and time. In many cases, an uncontested divorce often cost less and is quicker than any other form. The main savings is in legal fees that is one of the main money drains in contested divorces. Since there are no motivations to delay or hinder the proceedings, it is all over in a couple of months.
The second benefit has to do with the post-divorce relations of the spouses. Many people remain bitter and nurse grudges against their ex. These grudges could erupt in post-divorce legal cases where one spouse takes other to the court for perceived injustices of the divorce settlements. In the case of uncontested divorce, both spouses present a mutually agreed agreement on the division of assets, liabilities and child custody.
The divorce decree is based on the recommendation of this agreement. The result is that the ex-spouses retain a friendly relationship even after separation. Children are better off this way because they could have a semblance of a family that is often missing from the wreckage of contested high conflict divorce.
Why Uncontested Divorces Have Become Popular:
One of the reasons attorneys push couples toward uncontested divorces is the simple fact that a contested divorce is too much of a drain on the resources of the litigants. It takes many dedicated person-hours and long sessions of negotiations to come up with some sort of agreement. This agreement than goes in front of the bench that decides whether it is a valid division. Often, this cycle is repeated enough times to exhaust the parties and their legal representatives.
In contrast, uncontested divorces present a complete plan of action in front of the judge who has to verify the facts before issuing the order. In many cases, the order implements the agreement as the couple presented it. This plan of action means that that the couple has resolved their differences and likes to end the marriage on a pleasant note. This removes the requirement for lengthy court sessions and consequently, the legal fees of the entire divorce proceedings decreases substantially.
To Hire or Not to Hire a Lawyer:
For many wrong reasons, uncontested divorces have been labeled as DIY divorces. Indeed, in many cases where there is little friction between the parties, most of the paperwork and legal proceedings could be handled without hiring a divorce lawyer for the job. This impression is carried a bit far for some people who avoid a lawyer altogether with less than optimal results.
Like every other divorce case, an uncontested divorce requires legal advice on many points. For couples who do not wish to spend much on attorney’s fees, a better strategy is to consult a lawyer but handle paper work themselves.