The days when the court would not dissolve a marriage unless one spouse could prove that the other was at fault for the marriage’s failure are long gone. Today, married couples have the right to get divorced simply because they no longer want to be married to each other. While it is always painful when a marriage, divorce does not always have to turn into a protracted legal battle. In fact, some couples are able to agree on all the terms of their divorce before they even submit divorce paperwork to the court. Even if you and your spouse are both committed to having an Instagrammably amicable divorce, you will both emerge from the experience in an emotionally and financially stronger position if you hire a Tempeuncontested divorce lawyer.
Divorce is Not Pretty, but it Does Not Have to Be Ugly
Many couples who are considering divorce are surprised to find out, once they meet with a divorce attorney, that judges make fewer decisions in divorce cases than the couple might expect. In many cases, the spouses have already explicitly or implicitly agreed on how the new normal will be for their family. If they cannot afford to keep the house if they divorce, then they both agree that they should sell it. If one spouse lived in the house before the marriage, he or she is almost always the one who keeps it, although the house-owning spouse may need to pay the other spouse some compensation for his or her contributions to the couple’s homeownership during the marriage.
Likewise, it is usually obvious when the path of least disruption is for the children to continue attending the same school, which is near Mom’s house, and to spend the weekends with Dad. Of course, every family has its own routine. If Dad works long hours on weekends, then his parenting time may be on some weekdays, even if it means that the children ride different school bus routes on different days, depending on which parent’s house they are going to.
The Arizona Divorce Process
In a typical divorce case, one spouse files a divorce petition with the court and serves the other spouse with a copy of the petition. The divorce petition lists all of the petitioner’s requests regarding property division and parenting time. The other spouse, the respondent, has a few weeks in which to prepare a response to the petition. If you disagree with any of the requests that your spouse made in the divorce petition, the response to the petition is the time to say so.
The next step is for the spouses to submit documents to the court detailing their income, expenses, and separate and marital assets and debts. Then the court refers the couple to mediation, where a court-appointed mediator helps them negotiate a property division agreement, known as the marital settlement agreement (MSA). If they have minor children, then mediation is also the place to draft a parenting plan. The case only goes to trial if the couple cannot reach a resolution on their MSA or parenting plan during mediation.
How is Contested Divorce Different From Uncontested Divorce?
In an uncontested divorce, there is only one petition filed by both spouses. After that, the case moves to the financial disclosures, the MSA, and if applicable, the parenting plan. Then the judge signs off on the documents the parties have finalized and dissolves the marriage. The parties do not attend court-ordered mediation, because they have already agreed on all the terms of their divorce before submitting the divorce petition. Covenant marriages are not eligible for uncontested divorce.
Do You Still Need a Lawyer for Uncontested Divorce?
You have the right to hire a divorce lawyer or to represent yourself in a divorce case; it is entirely your choice. Couples who avoid hiring lawyers in the interest of keeping things amicable often find that the divorce ends up uglier than if they had hired lawyers from the beginning. Having an uncontested divorce is an admirable goal, and your chances of success are greater if you and your spouse work things out with a divorce lawyer before submitting your divorce petition. This is much better than trying to accomplish your divorce on your own and then hiring a lawyer at the last minute when things fall apart and the case goes to trial.
Contact Singular Law Group About Uncontested Divorce
A family law attorney can help you finalize your divorce with minimal drama. Contact Singular Law Group in Tempe, Arizona to set up a consultation.