WHAT IS AN UNCONTESTED DIVORCE?
An uncontested divorce is a proceeding in which neither you nor your spouse are in dispute regarding issues that require resolution in a divorce, such as: child custody, child support, visitation, alimony, monetary award, and distribution of marital property. There are other issues that may arise, but these are the most common. If you and your spouse are in full agreement as to all of these outstanding issues, that may apply, then you can proceed in an uncontested manner. (Note, an uncontested divorce is not a ground for divorce, merely the posture that the case is in). Grounds for divorce that are typically claimed when the matter is uncontested are mutual consent and twelve month separation. However, if there is a dispute regarding at least one issue between the parties that cannot be resolved prior to filing, then the court will treat the matter as contested. I cannot count the number times that I have had to advise a prospective client that even though they are disputing one aspect of their divorce, but have agreed on all other terms; they are in a contested posture. Even if a case is 99% settled, but 1% in dispute, then that case is contested.
DO I NEED REPRESENTATION FOR AN UNCONTESTED DIVORCE?
Like most legal questions that are asked: it depends. If filing under mutual consent, the court requires a written agreement to be filed. Most people are unfamiliar with drafting a voluntary separation and property settlement agreement, so the assistance of an attorney would be beneficial. Additionally, every jurisdiction has certain nuances with respect to filing and procedures that can be very difficult for a non-lawyer to navigate. However, it is certainly possible to proceed unrepresented. There are many resources offered online and by the court system that can assist the average pro se (unrepresented) litigant.
To illustrate the overall benefit in retaining an attorney in uncontested matters, allow me to use the following analogy. For most people, when there is a problem with their car, they take their car to a mechanic. The mechanic does the work, and they get their car back as good as new. This is typical for a simple oil change to a complex transmission replacement. It’s certainly possible to change the oil or transmission yourself. You may not be completely familiar with the process, but it would not be hard to find an online resource to show you how. However, when you do the work yourself, it may actually take much longer and be much harder than you imagined. You get the job done, but you’ve spent hours of extra time doing it--time that you could have spent on something else that you would have much rather preferred doing. And as they say, time is money. Using an attorney in an uncontested matter may actually save you money because that attorney knows how to get your divorce judgment in an efficient and cost-effective manner.
THE LAW OFFICE OF P. HONG LE, LLC CAN HELP
If you are in the process of a divorce that is uncontested, and you are not comfortable handling all aspects of your case alone, then the Law Office of P. Hong Le, LLC can help. Whether you would like full representation or assistance with specific aspects of your case, the Office offers reasonable flat fee rates for uncontested matters. The Office also offers limited scope representation if you only require assistance for specific tasks. Contact the Office today to schedule a free consultation regarding your uncontested divorce, and to receive guidance on the best way to accomplish your goals in your legal matter!