Maybe your marriage has been going downhill for a while and things are just not working out anymore. You may be considering divorce but the thought of long, drawn-out court battles over every aspect of your lives sounds exhausting and daunting. Uncontested divorce, a more amicable alternative, may be an option.
What is uncontested divorce?
An uncontested divorce is one in which you and your divorcing spouse have already come to an agreement about the important aspects of the divorce, such as how property will be divided. You draft your own divorce agreement and get it approved by court without needing a trial. If either of you is unwilling to negotiate and settle the terms outside of court, an uncontested divorce will not be possible.
Why choose it?
There are a number of benefits to uncontested divorce. The process moves much more quickly than court proceedings and costs less in the long run. It also keeps conflict to a minimum. Many couples leave on better terms with less stress and animosity weighing down on them. Finally, there will be less public information about your divorce available. Divorces go on public record so an uncontested divorce can help maintain a sense of privacy.
Who should consider uncontested divorce?
Uncontested divorce is, in theory, the best option because it saves time, money and some of the mental and emotional hardship. However, in practice, it is not for everybody.
Uncontested divorce is easiest to resolve if you have no children or your children are all adults. Matters of custody and child support get complex and can be difficult to agree upon. You and your spouse can still choose this route if you have kids but you must both be very willing to negotiate and do what is best for the kids.
It may not be a good choice if you have complex or valuable assets. It is still possible but it can be hard to sort through them and figure out a reasonable division on your own.
Even if you do not have minor kids or complex assets, you may simply feel that you cannot uphold your interests and financial safety through negotiation. Sometimes litigation is the best way to protect your property and future. It just depends on your situation and what you are most comfortable doing.
Do you need a lawyer?
Even in an uncontested divorce, a lawyer can be important to make sure your agreement is fair and written correctly. Court still needs to approve of it so a lawyer can ensure that this happens. They can also advise you if you are unsure whether you should seek an uncontested divorce.