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uncontested divorce

Should I Talk to My Spouse During Divorce?

Every divorce is different. Some separations are quaintly referred to as a "conscious uncoupling." Others are wars. There is no one-size-fits-all divorce, unfortunately, as every marriage is unique.

Some couples can calmly talk about their issues, even if it means divorcing. Some spouses may not feel safe in the same room as their soon-to-be exes. So how do you know when you should talk to your spouse during a divorce, and when it's best to maintain radio silence? Here are some factors to consider.

Anything You Say...

There are distinct advantages to a collaborative divorce, as well as some drawbacks. On the one hand, increasing communication and utilizing mediation and negotiations to settle your divorce can save money and time, and provide a resolution both parties are happy with. On the other hand, you may be unwilling or unable to work with your spouse, and without a judge's involvement, it may be harder to get accurate information regarding assets and custody.

There's a chance that communicating with your spouse during a divorce can make the process fast, cheap, and painless. Then again, your spouse may use anything you communicate against you later in the divorce proceedings. So, even if you choose to communicate with your spouse, choose your words (and actions) wisely.

Getting Social

Communication doesn't always occur face-to-face, and far too often we let our social media presence speak for us. Don't make that mistake. Whether it's ripping your spouse on Facebook to friends and family, or seemingly innocuous Instagram posts (3 a.m. selfies from the club on a school night), your actions on social media can speak louder than words.

Family Time

Obviously, kids complicate any divorce. Custody issues, child support issues, and communication issues can provide flashpoints for the most amicable divorce, and how you and your spouse co-parent during the divorce can speak volumes when it comes to resolving those issues. Communicating positively with both your spouse and your children (and not bad-mouthing your spouse to your children) can help matters. However, if personal safety, for you or your children, is at stake, don't sacrifice your own security for the sake of speaking to a dangerous spouse.

Whatever you decide, an experienced attorney can facilitate communication during a divorce. Contact one today.

By Christopher Coble, Esq

5 Legal Tips for Uncontested Divorces

 

When it comes to divorce, there are two basic kinds: contested and uncontested. In the former, the parties seeking to dissolve their union fight out their issues over who gets what in court. In an uncontested divorce, the parties still have to go to court, but there is no fighting involved. Rather, in an uncontested divorce, the parties simply ask the court to approve the divorce agreement they have come to on their own.

 

Typically, while courts will ensure that uncontested divorces meet minimum state requirements and that the parties are aware of and agree to the terms they set forth, that might be all the courts do. As such, divorcing parties trying to utilize the uncontested process may want to consider the following five legal tips.

1. Don’t Trust Your Soon-to-be-Former Spouse

Even though the decision to get divorced may have been reached amicably, trusting your soon-to-be-former spouse is not necessarily recommended. Do your own research and investigation to ensure that all assets and debts have been disclosed. The last thing you want is to agree to take on debts you don’t know about, let alone not get your fair share of community assets.

2. Retain Your Own Lawyer

Even when there may not seem to be anything to fight over, hiring your own lawyer to represent your interests is highly advisable. Apart from looking over, or potentially even drafting, the divorce agreement, your own attorney will be able to advise you about specific concerns that you may have never even considered. Remember, during divorce, debts are also divided. So even if there are no assets, you may need some help dividing debts.

3. The Personal Property Trade

When negotiating the division of personal property, it is common for separating spouses to negotiate over costly community personal property items like cars, furniture, electronics, and even collectibles. However, the value of these items can often be exaggerated. If there are hard to value items, it can be useful to hire a third party appraiser to assess the value so that a fair division can be made.

4. Early Mediation

If contested issues are discovered while working on the divorce agreement and division of property, rather than let the whole uncontested process blow up into a full blown contested divorce, the parties can engage a mediator to help them resolve their issues. While engaging a mediator is likely to increase the costs, compared to going through a contested divorce, mediation will be a drop in the bucket.

5. Measure Twice, Divorce Once

Because of the way an uncontested divorce works, it is important to really make sure that the divorce truly is uncontested. While an uncontested divorce can save parties considerable money, if it comes out during the hearing to approve the divorce agreement that there are contested issues, the costs savings can quickly vanish as the court rejects the uncontested divorce.

By George Khoury, Esq.

- See more at: http://blogs.findlaw.com/law_and_life/2017/03/5-legal-tips-for-an-uncontested-divorces.html#more

The Pros and Cons of an Uncontested Divorce

Ending a marriage is never a simple process. However, it can be simpler in some situations when the spouses are able to remain civil and agree between themselves how to divide the marital assets, deal with custody and support issues, and handle any other matters. Also known as an uncontested divorce, it may be hard for divorcing couples to accomplish in many instances, but the benefits can be great under the right circumstances.

The Pros

Uncontested divorce offers divorcing spouses the chance to end their marriage quietly and with dignity. 
The most obvious advantage of an uncontested divorce is its cost. An uncontested divorce that stays uncontested is almost always the least expensive way of getting divorced. The low cost is not, however, the only advantage of uncontested divorce. If the level of conflict between the two spouses remains low, an uncontested divorce offers a way to keep it that way. It is more private, more cooperative, and likely to keep more of your assets in each of your pockets and out of the hands of lawyers, accountants, process servers, and others required to put on a full divorce proceeding.

The Cons

Uncontested divorce is a bad idea when one spouse is beating up on the other. If there is a history of domestic violence, emotional abuse, or some other disparity in power in the relationship, it almost always leads to one spouse having an unfair advantage over the other. That disadvantaged spouse probably needs an attorney to advocate for them in a difficult situation. 

Uncontested divorce is also a bad idea when the parties are not able to talk with each other without fighting. If your spouse refuses to have any discussion with you about divorce, or every conversation ends in a screaming match, but you are determined to move forward with divorcing, you will likely need to move forward with a contested divorce and probably should hire an attorney. Similarly, if one or both of you are vested in keeping certain items of property or taking a larger share of the marital assets, then this could lead to an intractable disagreement that may not be easily resolved in an uncontested divorce proceeding.

Finally, uncontested divorces are a bad idea if you and your spouse are not comfortable with the law or do not believe you can work through the paperwork on your own. Uncontested divorces are relatively straightforward, but still require you to read and understand a number of different forms which will probably include fairly in-depth financial disclosures by each party. If this idea is intimidating, it may be wise to contact an attorney to assist with the process. 

How It Works

The first thing you need to know about uncontested divorce is that you can do it alone or with the assistance of a divorce attorney. If you use an attorney, the attorney you get to do your uncontested divorce cannot represent both of you. Because each spouse will have their own unique interests, the ethical principles for lawyers will require that a lawyer represent only one of the parties, not both of them. The lawyer must represent one of you and not the other. The lawyer will need to know at the outset which of you is his or her client and which of you is not.

Generally, every jurisdiction will require you to prepare similar documents to initiate a divorce: a petition for divorce, documents proving both parties are aware of and participating in the case, financial affidavits disclosing everything each spouse has, a settlement agreement, and a proposed judgment. Some jurisdictions may also require you to attend couples' therapy prior to granting the divorce.

After you produce the documents, and both spouses are satisfied with the papers, you sign and file them. In some jurisdictions that is it; your case will be handled based on the paperwork and you will receive your divorce judgment in the mail. In other jurisdictions, you are required to attend a hearing with your spouse to swear that everything in the divorce paperwork is true and correct and that you were not pressured into signing it.

How Much It Costs

The prices for uncontested divorces vary widely. At a minimum you will have court filing fees. Additionally, you may have attorney fees if you require assistance with your paperwork. Still, at the end of the day, you will likely have fees of less than $2,000, even with an attorney.  Every competent divorce attorney should offer some kind of uncontested divorce services package.  You should always discuss your matter with a competent divorce attorney to determine whether you are actually a candidate for uncontested divorce.