What's an Uncontested Divorce? (and a big myth around this topic)
And today I am tackling the topic of uncontested divorces. What an uncontested divorce is is that both parties want to divorce so therefore there’s no contest to it and neither side is challenging the fact that you want to divorce. But it is even more than that. What it really means is that you both have agreed upon everything within the divorce meaning the property division, the potential issues around spousal support, the potential parenting plan issues, the potential child support or attorneys’ fees. Uncontested means nothing is contested. It means all of the areas have been agreed upon. You’ve agreed upon how to how to deal with your house, how to deal with your assets, and how to deal with your retirement accounts, etc.
So what’s the myth?
So the myth here is that if you have an uncontested divorce that you therefore do not need attorneys. In fact, you may think you don’t need anybody involved; that maybe you can just fill out the paperwork yourself. But therein lies the danger zone… because something that looks way too simple… and shouldn’t be too simple… probably isn’t that simple. I can tell you as a 20 year top divorce attorney that the worst cases of litigation I had, oftentimes were people who tried to do their own divorces and ended up having major issues with whatever written agreement they ended up signing. This is because the language was unclear or maybe not specific enough or maybe didn’t address something that should’ve been addressed-- or maybe the language was gray ---or maybe they thought they had an agreement about something so they didn’t put it in to writing. Then they end up fighting over what they thought they each meant because it wasn’t written clearly enough.
One of the biggest mistakes I see in uncontested divorces it is in parenting plans. For example, some people will say “oh we’re getting along so well we don’t need a clear parenting plan.” “We just want to leave it open.” “The children can go back-and-forth as they want to.”
Then what happens is that new significant others come into the picture. Or things change. People move. And then that unclear sort of loosey-goosey parenting plan ends up being the worst thing that they could possibly have done. And if somebody has the potential to be a parental alienator then that may end up happening and without a specific parenting plan you’re sunk.
Also usually the laws for modification of any kind of marital settlement agreement…whether it’s a parenting plan or property or alimony…are much more stringent… it’s much easier to get what you want the first go around then it is to try to modify the existing agreement.
Because when you going to modify an existing agreement, the laws in most states require something like a substantial change in circumstances. That’s because the courts don’t want people going in and changing their minds constantly – and therefore clogging up the court system. They want people and families to have finality.
So that’s it today for tactical Tuesday tomorrow is wisdom divorce Wednesday. And tomorrow’s topic as I promised last week would be will be how divorce someone when you don’t even know where they are.
If you want more information remember I am currently offering a free version of my bestselling divorce book, Breaking Free: A Step by Step Guide to Achieving Emotional, Physical and Spiritual Freedom. Just go to www.breakingfreethebook.com. Help me out with the shipping and the book will be delivered free to your door. Relief on the way.
Thanks for joining me today I’ll see you tomorrow for wisdom Wednesday and in the meantime remember you’re not alone together we’ve got this.