What is an uncontested divorce?
An uncontested divorce is a divorce where the parties have agreed to ALL issues before the case is filed with the Court. A Separation Agreement must be included at the time of the filing.
What issues must be decided upon?
All issues of property division, alimony, child custody, child support, visitation, health insurance, division of retirement accounts, and division of debt must be resolved prior to filing.
What if we can’t resolve a few of those issues?
Contested versus uncontested doesn’t mean that one party doesn’t want a divorce. It means that the parties are not ready to make an agreement on all the issues. If there are issues that cannot be resolved prior to filing for divorce, it just means that the paperwork must be filed as a contested divorce.
If we can’t file an uncontested divorce, does it mean that we will have to have a trial?
Absolutely not. The vast majority of contested divorces are resolved by settlement before trial. Trying to file an “uncontested divorce” is not a good reason to enter into an agreement that you don’t believe is fair.
What must be filed with an Uncontested Divorce?
- Joint Petition for Divorce
- Financial Statements for both parties
- Affidavit of Irretrievable Breakdown
- Original or certified copy of a marriage certificate
- Separation Agreement
- Affidavit Disclosing Care and Custody Proceeding (in cases with children)
- Child support guidelines worksheet (in cases with children)
- R-408 statistical form
Are these documents complicated to complete?
Many of the documents are not complicated and require only your names and addresses. However, the Separation Agreement is by necessity both long and complex. It has to include many factors and important language, much of which is confusing for people not experienced with the legal process.
Will you represent both of us in an uncontested divorce?
I always believe it is best for both parties to have the advice of an attorney. If the parties are comfortable with having only one attorney, I generally work with one spouse to draft and revise the agreement, and present it to the other spouse for comments and possible revision. The process doesn’t have to be (and shouldn’t be) adversarial, but my duty as a lawyer will be to my client only.
Can I handle my uncontested divorce case on my own?
Absolutely. Many people complete an uncontested divorce without the advice of an attorney. However, keep in mind that the outcome of the case will be a Judgment of the Court that can impact nearly every aspect of your life for the foreseeable future. There are details and decisions contained in a Separation Agreement that may seem minor at the time, but that can have long lasting implications. The cost of having a Separation Agreement reviewed before court is many times smaller than the cost of fixing an important mistake after a Judge approves the agreement (if the mistake can be fixed at all).
What if I can’t afford the several-thousand-dollar retainer many attorneys ask for?
That’s where I can help. I offer a wide range of advice and representation on uncontested divorce cases. These can include helping by just reviewing some paperwork, advising on your rights before a mediation, or providing a “second opinion” before a major decision needs to be made. If you feel uncomfortable going to court, I can represent you for a single hearing. I offer these services on an affordable, flat-fee basis.
Many clients prefer to have an attorney throughout the entire case, but cannot afford the fee charged by a large firm. I offer low, flat-rate fees for each and every part of the process: from reviewing a single document to preparing all the documents and being by your side for the divorce hearing.