Do I Need a Lawyer if I am Getting an Uncontested Divorce?
An uncontested divorce is one where the couple reaches an agreement on all major terms of a divorce decree without needing to argue the issues in court. This however, does not mean that an uncontested divorce happens without issue, merely that the couple is able to come to an agreement without the need of a judge. Even if you are considering an uncontested divorce with your spouse, you still should hire a lawyer to represent your interests while negotiating during the divorce proceedings and for other issues that may arise during the divorce.
Negotiating an Uncontested Divorce
Typically, a couple will choose an uncontested divorce when there are relatively few martial assets, liabilities, no children, and the term of the marriage is less than five years. However, that is not always the case, and couples with children, pets, and substantial martial property can still divorce using the uncontested process. Issues that must be settled between the spouses include the division of property, assets and debts, child custody and parenting agreements, and spousal support. Hiring a lawyer to help negotiate the terms of an uncontested divorce can be incredibly helpful to the process. Lawyers have experience negotiating divorce settlements, and even in an uncontested divorce there can be disagreements that require a compromise before the divorce is final.
Another reason to hire a lawyer for an uncontested divorce is that a lawyer can handle all of the paperwork with the opposing side as well as with the court. This takes the stress of navigating a complex legal system out of your hands and allows you to focus on rebuilding your life after the divorce. Taking the pressure off of handling the divorce yourself can also be helpful during the negotiations, creating a less adversarial environment and leading to more productive, amicable discussions. An attorney can also review the final paperwork before submitting it to the court, ensuring that you understand all legal rights you have or are forsaking in the final divorce decree before submitting it to a judge for the final signing.
Finally, hiring a lawyer for an uncontested divorce is recommended because there is always the chance that an uncontested divorce turns into a contested divorce. For some couples, it simply is not possible to come to an agreement on certain issues in the marriage, and if negotiations break down, each side will need representation for the remainder of the divorce proceedings. Hiring a lawyer from the start gives the attorney full knowledge of what has occurred and allows him or her to immediately begin preparing for a contested divorce proceeding with the other side.
A Divorce Attorney can Help
If you are seeking an uncontested divorce, you should still consider hiring a lawyer to represent your best interests in the proceedings. Contact us today to discuss your options with one of our experienced divorce attorneys.