There is little question that divorce can be a messy, often traumatic process. Unresolved anger and fear of an uncertain future can lead to a long, drawn-out proceeding that costs both spouses significant time, money, and energy. In many cases, a bitter, contentious divorce can destroy what was once a loving relationship, making it nearly impossible for the parties to even be in the same room for years into the future. Divorce, however, does not need to be this way. In fact, with a little work and the right attitude, a couple may find that an uncontested divorce may provide an opportunity to move forward with their lives more quickly and at much less expense.
Amicable or Uncontested Divorce
Sometimes referred to as an amicable divorce, an uncontested divorce is one that does not require the court to get involved in settling differences or ruling on issues between the spouses. Instead, the couple is able to reach a workable agreement regarding all of the necessary considerations, including:
- Division of marital assets and debt;
- Spousal support arrangements;
- Parental responsibilities and parenting time schedules; and
- Child support.
As long as the agreement is relatively fair and does not compromise the rights or best interests of the child in any way, the court will approve the agreement. In most cases, an uncontested divorce is much faster than litigation, and can often be completed with just a single appearance in court by the couple.
The Negotiation Process
Many uncontested divorces are the result of a mutual decision to end the marriage. A couple may realize that they are better off apart, and, while there will almost certainly be an emotional element, they still want to minimize the negative impact on each other’s lives. The couple may, therefore, begin developing the basic framework for a settlement agreement weeks or months before filing the petition for divorce. Once the couple has reached common ground on major concerns, they can move on to the smaller details.
The Need for an Attorney
Trust and communication are crucial along the way, as each spouse needs to be forthcoming about his or her needs, concerns, and wishes. It is also important, however, for each spouse to work with his or her own attorney. Without the help of a qualified lawyer, it can be easy to overlook seemingly small elements that may have major implications down the road. Separate legal counsel can also help keep both spouses fully accountable for their role in the process, and offer each party advice for resolving disagreements that are sure to arise. Finally, the attorneys can draft the necessary paperwork, ensuring that the settlement presented to the court accurately reflects the terms agreed upon by the couple.
If you feel trapped in an unhealthy or unhappy marriage, contact an experienced family law attorney in Kane County to discuss the possibility of uncontested divorce. At Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C., we are committed to helping individuals and families find the happiness and peace of mind they deserve. Call 630-377-7770 to schedule your free initial consultation today.