“Uncontested divorce” sounds great, or at least a lot better than the alternative, “contested divorce”, which brings to mind people sitting at opposite ends of a long conference table, screaming about who gets to keep the brand new custom-made frozen yogurt machine, or the frozen yogurt itself for that matter. But the reality is, even those people shouting about who cares the most about high quality desserts may have thought that they were getting an uncontested divorce back when they called up their lawyer.
What is Uncontested Divorce?
Many people think uncontested divorce means that both spouses agree that it is time they parted ways, and contested divorce means that just one spouse wants to call it quits. The reality, however, is that agreeing to end your marriage is only the first thing you have to be in agreement about for an uncontested divorce.
Uncontested divorce is also known as no contest divorce. In this case, “contest” does not mean a something fun with a prize for the winner, as in “pie-eating contest”, it means something that is being fought over, as in “contested land”. So, a no contest divorce means you and your spouse don’t disagree and won’t fight about anything in the divorce agreement. At all.
This means you agree about who gets child custody and who will pay child support. You are on the same page about spousal support and alimony payments, meaning who pays whom and how much. You see eye to eye about who gets the house, where the kids will stay, who gets what money in any joint accounts, and even who gets that brand new fro-yo machine.
Even when spouses discuss some of these issues, sometimes problems arise when their lawyer starts to draw up the paperwork. You have to think about changing your wills? Absolutely. Divorce could mean big changes for your taxes? Sure it could.
So before you can be completely, totally, 100 percent sure you can file for uncontested divorce, you have to sit down with your lawyer and talk about the nitty gritty details. And if you find yourselves arguing, don’t worry! All is not lost. Oftentimes a mediator can help you avoid those long conference tables and screaming matches about frozen yogurt.
Our Lewisville family law attorneys can answer your questions about uncontested divorce, and partner Jared Julian is a certified mediator.