If you plan for an uncontested divorce, you may have several questions about what is involved and what you need to do. One frequent question is: Do I need a divorce lawyer if we agree on everything?
This article will explore what an uncontested divorce is, what you need to do to prepare for one, and whether or not you need a lawyer.
First, let’s define what an uncontested divorce is.
Uncontested Divorce – What Is It?
It is a type of divorce in which the two spouses reach a consensus on all terms and conditions before taking the issue to court.
This includes property division, child custody, and alimony (spousal support).
For a divorce to be considered uncontested, both spouses must agree on all the respects of the divorce.
If there is even one issue that the spouses disagree on, the divorce is considered contested and will likely require the help of a lawyer.
What You Need To Do To Prepare For An Uncontested Divorce
To have an uncontested divorce, both spouses will need to do the following:
- Agree on all aspects of their separation
- Submit a signed settlement agreement to the court
- Complete and file all necessary divorce paperwork with the court
- Appear in court for a final hearing (in some states)
As you can see, an uncontested divorce is relatively straightforward. However, it is essential to note that even contemplating uncontested divorce, it is always good to consult a lawyer before proceeding.
This is because many important legal issues are involved in a divorce, and it is best to ensure that you are fully informed of your rights and obligations.
Do I Need A Lawyer If My Spouse And I Agree On Everything?
You may still need a divorce lawyer, even if you agree on everything. This is because a lawyer can help protect your rights and interests and provide guidance on how to best proceed with the divorce.
A lawyer can also help to ensure that all necessary paperwork is correctly filed with the court and can represent you in court if necessary.
If considering an uncontested type of divorce, it is always advisable to speak with a lawyer to get more information about your situation.
Probably You Haven’t Agreed On “Everything”
In most cases where spouses think they have an uncontested divorce, at least one has left something out of the agreement. This can happen because it’s difficult to predict everything that could happen during and after a divorce.
For example, if you and your spouse agree to share custody of your children but do not address what will happen if one of you wants to move out of state, you have not agreed on everything.
If this happens, it will likely require the help of a lawyer to resolve the issue.
Similarly, if you agree on how to divide your property but do not address what will happen if one of you dies before the divorce is final, you have not agreed on everything.
A lawyer can help negotiate an agreement to address these potential issues in these cases.
Even if you and your spouse agree on all you need to, it is wise to have a lawyer review your agreement to ensure that it is legally binding and will stand up in court.
Issues That You Should Agree On In An Uncontested Divorce
If you plan on having an uncontested divorce, there are specific issues that the two of you must agree on. These include:
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Child Custody And Visitation
If you have children, you and your marriage partner must agree on who will have custody of the children and how to schedule visitation.
It is important to note that even if you and your spouse agree on custody and visitation, you will still need a court order issued by a judge to make it legally binding.
You and your spouse must also agree on how to divide your property. This includes your house, car, bank accounts, and other assets.
It is important to note that the court will require you to divide your property equally between you and your spouse in some states. In other states, the court may allow you to keep all of your property acquired before the marriage or if it was inherited.
Alimony And Child Support
If you and your spouse have children, you must also agree on who will pay child support and how much alimony (if any) will be paid.
Again, even if you and your spouse agree, they will still need to be put into a legally binding agreement to be enforced.
Division of Debts
You and your spouse must also agree on dividing any debts you may have. This includes credit card bills, student loans, and car loans.
It is important to note that in most cases, the person who owes the debt is responsible for paying it back, even if it was acquired during the marriage.
If you and your spouse have retirement accounts, you must agree on how they will be divided. This can be tricky, as there may be penalties for withdrawing money from a retirement account before age 59 ½.
You and your spouse should speak with a lawyer if you have questions about dividing your retirement accounts.
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The Marital Settlement Agreement
Once you and your spouse have agreed on the above issues, you must put it into a legally binding marriage settlement agreement.
This agreement will outline all of the terms of your divorce, including child custody, visitation, property division, alimony, child support, and the division of debts.
Even if you and your partner agree, having a lawyer review your agreement to ensure it is legally binding and will stand up in court is good.
If you are considering an uncontested divorce, it is essential to speak with a lawyer who can help ensure that you have agreed on every aspect. If you do not address all potential issues, you may end up in a contested divorce and pay more money in the long run.
The Bottom Line – Do I Need A Divorce Lawyer If We Agree On Everything?
While it is possible to have an uncontested divorce, it is essential to remember that you and your spouse must agree on everything. If you do not address every potential issue, you may be in court fighting over things you thought were already resolved.
Speaking with a lawyer before finalizing your divorce is always a good idea, even if you agree. A lawyer can help ensure your agreement is legally binding and will stand up in court.