Individuals looking for a divorce often call law firms with the explanation that they are seeking legal counsel for an “uncontested divorce.” To them, it seems like it’s relatively simple. They want a divorce. Their spouse wants a divorce. That makes it an uncontested divorce. It has to be easy from there, right?
From there, they assume the answer is, “yes.” After all, if both parties want a divorce, what more could there be to it?
The reality is even when both people want an uncontested divorce, there has to be an agreement on the division of all marital property and debt. From the house, to the cars, to the bank accounts, retirement accounts, items within the home, credit cards, student loans and everything else, the parties have to agree on one-hundred percent of these times for the divorce to be concluded.
When kids are involved, the parties cannot just agree on definitional terms like whether custody will be “joint” or “sole,” the they have to agree on who will have custody on the exact days of the week. They have to agree on exchange times. They have to agree on holiday time and summer visitation. They have to agree on one-hundred percent of these times.
In this same vein, there has to be an agreement on child support. Who is paying child support to who? They also have to agree on the amount. They have to agree on how educational and extracurricular expenses will be divided. The same is true for medical expenses and tax deductions for the children. If the kids go to college, who is paying?
Spousal support is another issue that comes into play. Is one party going to get spousal support or not? If so, how much will it be? And for how long will it be paid? Will it be indefinite until a substantial change of circumstance? Or will it be for a set term?
As it relates to attorney’s fees, are each parties paying their own fees? If not, how much is the one party paying of the other spouse’s attorney fees?
At the end of the day, even where both parties want a divorce, all of these items have to be agreed upon for an uncontested divorce to be concluded. Disagreement even on one issue can hang up the conclusion of a divorce. This is one reason why it is critical that you have attorneys working with you to help you through this process. In some cases, parties might be able work out these differences informally through settlement negotiations or in mediation or collaborative law.
If you need help with an uncontested divorce, Stange Law Firm, PC can help. You can contact us at Troy Divorce Lawyers in Lincoln County, Missouri or at 1-855-805-0595.