There’s a lot of confusion about what exactly an “uncontested” divorce is. I have clients who come in wanting an uncontested divorce all the time, but when I begin talking more with them I realize that there is almost no way that their divorce will be uncontested.
So, today I want to explain exactly what my office considers an “uncontested” divorce. This is important because both you and I need have a very clear understanding of what you’re facing, both emotionally and financially.
The Definition of an Uncontested Divorce
Here at my Memphis law office I consider a divorce to be uncontested only when both spouses want to get divorced and agree between themselves as to exactly how all the property will be divided. And in cases where there are minor children involved, the spouses also must agree between themselves as to exactly how the parenting time will be shared.
A divorce is not uncontested unless the spouses agree with each other 100% on all of the above things. Even disagreeing on one thing can turn a divorce into being “contested”, and in fact it’s usually only one or two things that causes a divorce to be contested. But these one or two things are usually very important things.Also, a divorce is not uncontested if the spouses each hire an attorney to represent them. If either of these things occur then the divorce becomes much more expensive, time consuming, and just more difficult and frustrating overall.
I can tell you that in our uncontested divorces 99% of the time both spouses have talked about getting a divorce and know that one person is going to a divorce attorney to get everything started. The uncontested divorces we handle are NOT situations where one spouse is shocked that the other wants a divorce.
So, what’s our job as your divorce lawyer if you’re going through an uncontested divorce?
We then advise you as to the whether or not the things you’ve agreed to will likely be approved by the court. (You can’t imagine how many do-it-yourself divorces I see denied at final hearings in front of the judge because the spouses entered into an agreement that the judge doesn’t agree with or that isn’t legal. Believe it or not, but just because you and your spouse agree to something in a divorce doesn’t mean that the court will approve it.), Next we incorporate your wishes into the proper legal format, create all documents, and then file the proper documents (once signed and returned to us) with the court. Think of our job as being your guide through the courthouse and to the completion of your divorce.
I always, always, always (can I say always one more time?) advise spouses that are considering a divorce to try to go the uncontested route if possible. It’s faster, easier, and cheaper. But for those of you with lot’s of assets, or who feel your spouse is hiding things, or who just can’t come to any kind of agreement with your spouse, it’s probably not an option. In those cases your only option is going contested.
But no matter what type of divorce case you pursue, whether it’s uncontested or contested we can help. As a Memphis divorce lawyer I’m accustomed to handling both and would be happy to speak with you if you have questions. You can contact my office at 901-754-1340 or by emailing me at James@MemphisDivorceFirm.com