It is important to note that creating an uncontested divorce settlement agreement can end up messy if not done carefully and properly. That is why we are sharing a few tips here to help you build a better understanding of the process.
There are two basic kinds of divorce processes:contested and uncontested. The former is one in which the spouses have not formed a settlement on the terms of their separation. Some have not even agreed on divorce in the first place.
The latter, on the other hand, is where the couple has arrived at an agreement on everything related to their divorce terms, such as the allocation and division of their debts and assets as well as child custody and support. Generally, the spouses no longer need to employ the assistance of the court to divide property, which makes uncontested divorce a smoother and simpler approach to marriage dissolution.
Because uncontested divorce seems to be the more amicable track, it is perhaps the attractive option for people who are on the verge of a marriage split. Divorce itself is stressful enough. If there’s an easier way to get through it, then why not, right?
Check out our 8 basic tips for creating an uncontested divorce settlement agreement below.
- 1. Set your expectations and prepare your emotional self. Divorce is not painless.
- 2. Be civil, but do not trust your ex-spouse too much.
- 3. Know all your properties, including your ex-spouse’s.
- 4. Negotiate and ensure that you get what is just.
- 5. Stay calm, especially when negotiating.
- 6. Hire a lawyer; you cannot do all the paperwork by yourself.
- 7. Have a mediator ready in case your uncontested divorce blows up in the middle of the process.
- 8. Collaborate and have your lawyers negotiate contested issues outside the court.
Set Your Expectations and Prepare Your Emotional Self. Divorce is not Painless.
Divorce is never painless. In this court procedure, marriage is going to dissolve and a family will be broken. There is always pain in that.
Therefore, before you set your foot on the process of divorce, be sure to set your expectations and prepare your emotional self. You wouldn’t want to break down in the middle of the process and have the court find out about your contested issues.
Also, if you have kids, you must make their welfare a priority during this tough time. Seeing you emotionally unstable because of the stress and depression brought by your divorce settlements can negatively impact them.
Needless to say, you need to be combat-ready even if it is an uncontested divorce. An uncontested divorce is still a marriage dissolution process. Thus, it has its complications and emotional consequences for you.
Be Civil, But do not Trust Your Ex-Spouse Too Much.
He or she may not be your ex-spouse officially, but soon, he or she will be. Be sure not to trust him or her too much the way you did when you were together.
Let’s face it. Your soon-to-be former spouse doesn’t have your best interest at heart.
You’re breaking up, after all. You can’t expect him or her to give you the same level of treatment as he or she did before.
Having said that, you must remain civil throughout the course of your uncontested divorce settlement agreement. You may have agreed on the terms of your separation amicably since the beginning, but until the process has concluded, you still have no assurance that you are getting what’s fair and square.
Remember, you have to secure an equitable interest in your properties.
Therefore, you must do your own investigation and research to ensure that all your assets and debts are on the table. Then, you proceed with the division and settlement.
Don’t be too friendly. You might end up accepting debts you aren’t aware of, not to mention unequal shares of your assets.
Know All Your Properties, Including Your Ex-Spouse’s.
As we have mentioned in our second tip, you must do your research to get a full list of your assets and debts, including your ex-spouse’s, of course. However, it is not too easy for individuals who literally want to get over the divorce process as soon as possible.
It is reasonable for divorcees to try to avoid a conversation related to the divorce process, especially if it entails remembering properties you owned when you were still a happy couple. The flashback memories aren’t an exciting thought.
Another thing is the surprise you’ll get upon learning the debts that your former spouse kept from you. It’s understandably an ugly and anger-provoking discovery.
But if you want to protect what should be yours at the end of your uncontested divorce settlement agreement, then you have to brave those anxieties. Your willful ignorance of your ex-spouse’s assets and debts will not get you the equal share of properties and liabilities you deserve.
Negotiate and Ensure that You Get What is Just.
In an uncontested divorce, the spouses should always arrive at a settlement before the case is presented to the judge. Failure to do so may incur more charges, as the court could just reject the case.
On that account, it is expected for the husband and the wife who are in the middle of an uncontested divorce settlement agreement to negotiate what is equitable and unbiased. But we can’t expect this phase to be flawless and smooth.
As a matter of fact, some couples think that they can do an uncontested divorce in the beginning but decide on a contested divorce at the middle of the case. It appears that dividing assets and debts into equal shares isn’t too simple.
Our tip? Just continue negotiating. You can’t settle for lesser than what is just to you. And of course, keep your cool when bartering, which brings us to our fifth tip.
Stay Calm, Especially When Negotiating.
You and your ex-spouse may not be friends right now, but you don’t necessarily have to be enemies. If you want your uncontested divorce settlement agreement to finish peacefully, then be calm when negotiating your terms.
Remember that your purpose is to negotiate. You are bartering peacefully to arrive at a fair judgment and settlement.
Shouting or any harsh words are not welcome but often inevitable. So, you must do your best to keep your cool and try not to argue with your former spouse.
You have to realize that it is in your common interest to finish your uncontested divorce settlement agreement without provoking anger towards each other. And the only way you can do that is to stay calm when negotiating.
Hire a Lawyer; You Cannot do All the Paperwork By Yourself.
Although it is an uncontested divorce that you and your former spouse agreed on, that doesn’t mean a lawyer is no longer required. Hiring a lawyer to represent your interests is still recommended even when the couple is not fighting over the terms of their uncontested divorce settlement agreement.
Having a professional lawyer review your divorce paperwork gives you more assurance that the process will end fairly and in peace. Additionally, there are aspects of divorce that you might overlook,especially in cases wherein all assets and debts are difficult to divide.
Therefore, if you do have a lawyer, then don’t hesitate to retain his or her service. You don’t know how your uncontested divorce process will turn out, so it’s best if you have a lawyer ready to help.
Have a Mediator Ready in case Your Uncontested Divorce Blows up in the Middle of the Process.
An uncontested divorce is, indeed, an economical approach to dissolving a marriage. Arriving at an agreement about the terms of divorce means fewer trips to the court and fewer fees required for the lawyers.
However, an uncontested divorce can lead to a higher level of stress and can incur more charges if it gets rejected by the court. This happens when the judge finds out that the couples have contested issues that they have not settled before the case is presented to the court.
Hence, if you and your ex-spouse cannot really come to an agreement about certain parts of your uncontested divorce, it’s time for you to engage a mediator. Mediation may have charges, but compared to a contested divorce, it’s still a hefty drop in costs.
A mediator is your neutral problem solver. Anything that you can’t agree on can be mediated if you wish to continue with the uncontested divorce. So make sure that you consider mediation unless you are open to the contested approach.
Collaborate and Have Your Lawyers Negotiate Contested Issues Outside the Court.
Perhaps one of the most important requirements in an uncontested divorce is collaboration. Both parties must be open to collaborating to reach a fair divorce settlement agreement.
But it’s not often that spouses agree on matters in one seating. Most of them have contested issues that need resolving with the help of their lawyers.
Thus, you must have your lawyers available to assist you in arranging the terms of your uncontested divorce settlement. If ever you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse cannot decide on the matter, you have to employ their expertise to help you come to an agreement.
And most importantly, you need to make sure that these procedures are done outside the court, prior to your case presented to the judge. You wouldn’t want the judge to learn about your contested issues and throw your case to the rejected table.
An uncontested divorce is cost-saving, that’s true. But divorce is a complex process that needs the expertise of professionals.
Therefore, if you are settling for an uncontested divorce for the savings in costs, you must consider our tips in this post to avoid incurring more charges. When done the right way, an uncontested divorce settlement agreement will be best for both parties.
But you have to keep in mind that one mistake can ruin all the efforts and hard work you put in. So, be cautious and mindful of every step you are taking, especially if you choose not to hire a lawyer to help you out.
Mike Zhang. Founder of FamilyLifeShare