In legalese, to “contest” something means to challenge it. When something is contested, it needs a resolution. This can happen in a settlement or a courtroom. A contested divorce happens when one party refuses to work with the other, and the matter must be settled in court.
Avoiding court is always the best option, which is why many couples opt for an uncontested divorce. Both parties agree to the divorce, and they don’t need to overtly cite a reason for the split. They can simply state their intention to divorce and move forward.
From there, the couple must choose how to hammer out the details of the divorce. They must make decisions regarding property, support, child custody, and more.
Here are your options when you choose an uncontested divorce.
Deciding Everything Yourselves
Couples have the right to make any decisions they want regarding their divorce without any outside intervention. They can make choices on everything from spousal support to child custody.
If you believe you can work together and make these decisions amicably, you should at least run your agreement by an attorney. They can help you cover any areas you missed, and they may be able to point out any mistakes you made. Once your agreement is made, you can submit it to the courts and move on.
Realistically, many couples will find this option difficult if not impossible. Something led to their decision to divorce, and that usually breeds bad feelings and an inability to work together. For couples who may want to avoid court but have a hard time communicating, there are other options.
Mediation involves a legal professional, but it is not a “win or lose” situation. That professional is the mediator, and they work for you both. They usually have specialized psychological training, and their job is to get you two communicating.
A good mediator can help both parties voice their needs and listen to the other’s concerns. If arguing begins, the mediator can calm the conversation. Ultimately, their goal is to help negotiate everyone’s needs, creating conclusions both parties can accept.
Mediation may not get you everything you want, but you can at least take solace in the fact that you agreed to all conclusions. No one forces you into any decision, and you’re not at the mercy of an uninvested judge.
Participating in a Collaborative Divorce
Collaborative divorce is the most involved of the uncontested divorce options, and it is the most expensive. Don’t let this fact deter you, though. If you can afford it, a collaborative divorce can leave you more satisfied with the divorce’s outcome.
In this process, each spouse has their own lawyer, but everyone still works together. Attorneys can even recommend one another. First, each spouse meets privately to voice their needs and concerns with their lawyer. Then, everyone meets together to hash out the details. You may even bring in outside experts such as financial planners and child psychologists to help make the best decisions for everyone involved.
Like mediation, a collaborative divorce should leave you knowing you agreed to all negotiations, giving you agency over the divorce.
Our firm can help with your uncontested divorce. For a free consultation, call us today at (805) 633-4999 or contact us online.