Posted on: 2 October 2017Share
When a marriage has become so difficult that both parties want it to be over, the subject of an uncontested divorce often arises. In theory, an uncontested divorce sounds simple — two people who simply want to satisfy the legal requirements to dissolve the marriage and become single again decide to work together to save time and speed up the process. Since many of the forms required for an uncontested divorce can be accessed through the state court system, it should be an easy, seamless process, right?
In practice, however, two people who were often at odds during the course of their marriage are far more likely to be unable to work together in pursuit of a legal divorce. If you and your spouse are planning to divorce and are considering an uncontested divorce, take time to ask the following questions before deciding if that is the best course of action for you.
Are there children involved?
One of the most contentious parts of any divorce is making decisions about the care of any children that you share with your spouse. These decisions typically include potentially inflammatory discussions regarding primary custody, child support payments, responsibility for health care, and deciding who will remain in the family home, or if it will be sold.
Couples with children must not only agree to plans for their immediate care needs, but must also plan ahead to make sure that future expenses, such as college costs, are considered. In most cases, this type of process can be much less stressful when each party has their own attorney who can help them ensure they are making the best decisions for their children's future.
Is there money or property to divide?
The division of marital assets is another area in which it can be difficult to avoid emotional outbursts and arguments that have the potential to throw an uncontested divorce off track. If you are confident that there is no possibility of hidden money, property, or valuables, and both parties are in complete agreement about the proposed division of all marital property, then working together toward an uncontested divorce may be possible.
If, however, either spouse feels that the other party is hiding something or withholding information, the situation can become very stressful. An experienced divorce attorney will be able to help you file the correct paperwork to discover any hidden assets and ensure that they are fairly divided in the final divorce agreement.
Are there trust issues on the part of either spouse?
Affairs, abuse, addiction issues, and financial pressure, as well as many other problems, can create trust issues between spouses during the marriage that can impede their ability to work together on an uncontested divorce. Before agreeing to pursue an uncontested divorce, take time to explore whether you feel you will be able to trust your spouse to act honorably as you both work toward becoming legally divorced.
In most cases, couples who were honest and open with each other during the marriage will be better able to work together toward an uncontested divorce and an amicable relationship in the future. Those who have experienced secretive or dishonest behavior, or who were the victim of some type of abuse by their spouse while married may be unwise to consider a divorce option that leaves them without the benefit of having their own legal advice and counsel.
Before making a decision you may regret, take time to speak with a family law lawyer, like Marlene Dancer Adams, about your situation. Even if you ultimately decide not to contest the divorce and can agree with your spouse on the terms, taking the time to discuss them with your attorney beforehand will help you feel more confident about the process.