Many people confuse an uncontested divorce with a “do-it-yourself” divorce.
A divorce that is “uncontested” has merely settled out of court. Like 95% of divorces in Minnesota, it never goes to trial. It has the benefit of being fast, less expensive, and less rancorous than the litigated alternative.
This outcome doesn’t happen by magic, however, and it doesn’t usually happen because two incredibly reasonable people sit down to hash out the end of their marriage without a single bump in the road. Most “uncontested” divorces still involve attorneys.
Indeed, if one or more parties in the divorce is not represented by an attorney, there will still need to be a hearing if minor children are involved. The judge needs to make sure that the settlement is not one-sided.
Getting an uncontested divorce that is fair for all parties might require the help of attorneys, mediators, neutral custody evaluators and financial planners. Each of these professionals can provide different perspectives on the dissolution of your marriage and can help both you and your spouse reach an equitable settlement.
You should also be aware that you and your spouse cannot save money on your divorce by agreeing to be represented by the same attorney. You and your spouse each need a different attorney.
You can choose to have a mediator who will stay impartial. You should each have an attorney even if you do have a mediator, however, to draft your paperwork and to advise you on your best interests.
If you’re asking questions about an uncontested divorce because you’re considering a DIY option in the hopes of saving legal fees, be aware that you could be setting yourself up for trouble. Often people who engage in DIY divorce are being “penny wise but pound foolish.”
Your attempts to file your own divorce could end up costing you thousands of dollars more than a divorce guided by trained divorce attorneys. You could make serious mistakes that will cost even more to rectify later.
The mistake could be an omission. It could be a concession you really should never have made. There are all kinds of mistakes that people make when they try to file their own divorces that an attorney would have spotted right away.
At Barna, Guzy, and Steffen we have attorneys and mediators with decades of experience in the field of Family Law. Call us to find out how we can help you protect your interests and settle your divorce as quickly and as painlessly as possible.