The Uncontested Divorce – Part 1

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When someone calls a lawyer to proceed with an uncontested divorce, unfortunately they are often not correct in identifying the case as uncontested.  As in, an uncontested case, from start to finish.  Commonly, the person’s description is based upon the couple having not yet discussed the terms of the divorce, and the person’s assumption (and hope) that the terms of the divorce will come together smoothly.

The most common mischaracterization of an uncontested divorce comes from someone having no intention of “fighting” with the other parent about the children, and that same person expecting that the other parent will refrain from “fighting” as well.  But most mischaracterized “uncontested” divorces involve that same general situation regarding one or more issues: the belief that by going into the action without a hot issue, ready for a fight, that the case will be uncontested.

This is not to say that a non-uncontested case cannot become an uncontested case during the course of the action.  That is what happens when even complex or high-conflict cases settle out of court.

Here is an outline of the requirements of a true, uncontested divorce:

Children

*There are no minor children; or

*If there is a minor child, one of the parents has literally no demands to make pertaining to the parenting plan; or

*Both parents are willing to be extremely flexible and neither parent desires to have precedence over the other parent’s time and relationship with the child(ren).

Child Support

*There are no minor children; or

*The parties are in agreement that no child support shall be paid.

Spousal Maintenance

*The parties are in agreement that no spousal maintenance shall be paid.

Real Estate

*There is no real estate, or the marital homestead will be sold, and the net proceeds equally divided.

Personal Property

*Each party is keeping the stuff currently in their possession, and no items need to change hands.

Bank Accounts

*Bank accounts are already separated and bank account funds are already divided.

Retirement Accounts

*There are no retirement accounts, or each party is keeping any retirement assets in his or her name.

Motor Vehicles

*Each party gets one car, and the parties agree that this is a wash.

Debts

*There are no debts in both parties’ names, and each party will pay the debts in his or her name individually.

Attorney’s Fees

*Each party pays his or her own attorney’s fees.

 

 

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