I’ve heard clients say things like, “My divorce is uncontested, except we can’t decide who gets the kids.” What that tells me is that perhaps part of the divorce is uncontested, but obviously child custody, visitation, and support are still in question.
If you want an uncontested divorce, you and your spouse need to be able to come to an agreement on these five things:
- Division of Assets – Who gets the house, car, IRA etc.?
- Division of Debts – For example, who gets last year’s tax liability?
- Child Custody and Visitation – Who will the kids live with and how often will they see each parent?
- Child Support – How much with the noncustodial parent pay?
- Alimony – Does either spouse need/deserve spousal support? How much and for how long?
Of course, if you didn’t have children with your spouse, then you don’t have to worry about numbers 3 and 4. Occasionally clients come to an attorney with a complete (or nearly complete) settlement in mind. I’ve seen that happen maybe twice. More often they need a little help in negotiating with their spouse on one or more issues.
My opinion is that the more issues that clients can settle with their spouse outside of court, the better. Both parties tend to be happier with the results, which tends to make for a more amicable relationship post-divorce. Uncontested divorces are usually quicker too, and can be over as soon at 31 days after the initial filing. Lastly, uncontested divorces tend to be less expensive since they take less time; often attorneys will offer a reasonable flat fee for uncontested divorces.
Herndon Legal Services would like to remind you that every case is unique and requires case-specific attention. You should speak with an attorney regarding the facts of your case for more information.
Caitlin E. Herndon, Attorney
Herndon Legal Services, LLC
*Flat fee does not include filing and sheriff service costs, which are paid directly to the court via a money order.