Several times a day, we get calls asking us to help a new client get a divorce that the client believes is “uncontested.”
Most folks think “uncontested” means that their spouse wants a divorce too. Unfortunately, even if you both want to split, there are still issues that need to be worked out. A divorce is only “uncontested” if all of those issues are worked out in advance.
The most common issues that surface are:
- Property: Who gets the house? Who gets the retirement? Who gets which car? Who gets the couch? The washer-dryer? Who is going to be responsible for paying a particular debt? The IRS? For a divorce to be uncontested, you and your spouse must agree on who is going to get every individual asset and who is going to pay every individual debt.
- Children: Even in an uncontested divorce, you’ll have to submit a Permanent Parenting Plan signed by both of you. That Plan, usually 9 pages long, details who is going to get custody of the kids at what time on what day, where they will spend holidays and vacations, who will make decisions about healthcare, education, and extracurricular activities, and what child support is to be paid. Because of the level of detail, it is rare for parents, even in an uncontested divorce, to have already resolved these issues without the benefit of legal advice.
- Support: In addition to child support (if you have minor children), you must agree as to who must pay who alimony, for how long, and how much – or agree that no one will pay alimony. This requires people to think carefully about what it’s going to cost to live separately and may require legal advice to work out.
But don’t worry! Even if you haven’t resolved all these questions, there’s a solid chance, if both of you want a divorce, that you’ll be able to work out solutions to these problems civilly. This, in turn, will save on attorney fees and stress. Held Law Firm attorney Melanie Hogg is especially gifted at doing uncontested divorces, due to her experience with multi-state litigation and her certifications as a mediator and Collaborative Law Specialist. Attorney Leah Fitzgerald Smith is known for her quick, cost-effective, and efficient approach to uncontested and lightly-contested divorces. We have plenty of help available, so don’t hesitate to check out our other blogs on the subject and give us a call to schedule a consultation!
Margaret Held is the founding attorney of Held Law Firm.