An uncontested divorce is one in which both parties mutually reach a divorce agreement outside of court. In almost all cases, an uncontested divorce is far less costly and time-consuming than a contested divorce. If the divorcing couples are in agreement and/or have negotiated and decided on the terms of their divorce, though, is there a need to hire a lawyer at all?
There are actually quite a few advantages to having a lawyer, even if the divorce is never contested in court.
1. Lawyers can help your agreement get approved.
Even if you and your future ex-spouse have agreed to terms for the divorce, your agreement must still be finalized in court in order for the divorce to be legal. Having an attorney assist you with the paperwork and with drafting your written agreement can greatly increase your chances of having the divorce approved right away and decrease the liklihood of future issues.
An attorney can also review the agreement after you have drafted it to check for any issues or things you may not have considered. This can make the process go more smoothly and ensure that you are not losing any legal rights through your agreement, missing any important issues or provisions or creating potential problems which may result in having to return to court in the future.
2. Lawyers know everything that needs to be done in a divorce.
Lawyers fully understand the divorce process and all the steps that need to be taken before a divorce can be finalized. Even if you and your spouse both want a divorce, the dissolution of marriage must be legally recognized by court, which means there is a required process. If you miss crucial pieces of the process, your divorce may not be approved or you may run into complications. A lawyer can walk you through each step, answering any questions you have.
3. Lawyers can work through financial/property issues.
Despite you and your spouse agreeing on how to divide assets and property, the actual practice of doing so can be very complicated. The transfer of real estate, division of investments, and the division of retirement accounts are all sometimes difficult to accomplish. The division of a retirement account is particularly problematic, often requiring a special order called a Qualified Domestic Relations Order. This is a complicated process and it is unlikely that you can successfully complete it without the assistance of an attorney or other professional. There are often tax issues in a divorce or in the division of assets that need to be taken into consideration and may result in significant negative consequences to a party if not done correctly. Even though people believe they are saving money by not hiring an attorney, they often cost themselves more money in the long run by failing to take all of the necessary financial and tax issues in consideration when dividing assets.
Lawyers can make this process much easier by sorting through legal ownership and your options in a divorce, helping you change ownership of assets when necessary, and advising you on joint financial situations.It is, of course, possible to go through an uncontested divorce without the help of an attorney. However, having a skilled family law attorney can provide important legal counsel and direction to make sure you are satisfied and legally protected in your divorce.