What is an Uncontested Divorce?
The Uncontested Divorce
It is a common misconception that an uncontested divorce is a type of divorce; it’s not.
When you go to the courthouse you don’t file an uncontested divorce. The uncontested part of the divorce is the settlement agreement that is attached to the divorce; it is a stage that you reach in a divorce proceeding that is marked by agreement.
If you don’t have a signed settlement agreement, you don’t have an uncontested divorce. Don’t make the error of putting the cart before the horse. If you don’t have an agreement, you don’t have an uncontested divorce; even if you want one, the other side might not agree to your terms. If you and your spouse can agree on the terms of the dissolution of your marriage then filing a complaint for divorce along with a settlement agreement is a reasonable way to proceed in your divorce case.
What are the benefits of agreeing to the terms of your divorce? First, anytime you can agree to anything in your case it’s much cheaper. What are the disadvantages of agreeing to the terms of your divorce? Well none if you can agree to the terms. But agreeing to the terms of the divorce does not mean the same thing as being bullied into accepting terms that are unacceptable.
If you are considering resolving your disagreements through mediation or simply through negotiation and entering into a negotiated settlement with your spouse, without a trial, you must carefully consider what type of agreement you can you live with? Marriage may not be forever for everyone but divorce generally is. So if you are not satisfied with the terms of a proposed divorce settlement then don t sign it. Realistically people who have been married for a long time, have significant assets or very different parenting styles may not reach the uncontested stage of the divorce proceedings as quickly as a couple with no children, no property and little time together.
What is a collaborative divorce? I mean apart from sales gimmick, what is a collaborative divorce? Taking a collaborative approach to divorce is often the most sensible solution to reaching an agreement when the parties can work together to resolve their differences. It does not work if one spouse is uncompromising and refuses to moderate a position, especially an extreme position. To be clear sometimes being uncompromising is exactly the right, perhaps the only way to be. In those situations a litigated divorce is the right approach.
Litigated divorces have certain advantages. Although litigated divorces can get expensive there are some definite reasons you may want to consider having your divorce litigated. Probably the most important reason to have your divorce litigated is because you don’t trust your spouse to deal honestly, or perhaps even rationally, with the issues that surround the breakup of your marriage. Often times the terms offered by your spouse in the divorce settlement are unacceptable. If you spouse is unwilling to compromise and your unwilling to make unreasonable compromises then you need to litigate your divorce.
Frankly, litigating a matter is the most exciting aspect of an attorney’s job. There is a reason most lawyer dramas on TV are set in a courtroom and very few episodes of LAW AND ORDER feature lawyers who spend all day drafting settlement agreements. Although some attorneys enjoy trying cases, and I for one rather enjoy trials, ultimately whether the case is tried or not, is your decision.
Law Office of Martin M. Del Mazo, Atlanta Divorce Attorney, 750 Hammond Drive Atlanta, Georgia 30328
We are happy to be of assistance whether you simply need help filing and drafting an agreement, need a counselor to advise you through a collaborative divorce or ultimately if you want us to champion your cause in court we are happy to help.