Marriage is the backbone of our civil society. Couples exchange vows in good faith and intend to live their whole life together, start a family, and join the common enterprise of bringing the next generation into responsible adulthood. Unfortunately, according the American Psychological Association, about 40%-50% of couples divorces of 2018, and the rate is higher for previously married couples.
In the best case scenario, divorcing couples will enter into an uncontested divorce agreement, sparing themselves months of litigation and a mountain of legal bills. Even for simple uncontested divorces, with no children or assets, we recommend hiring an uncontested divorce attorney to make sure the process is executed correctly and in the least amount of time.
Uncontested divorce lawyers can be found on Avvo.com, through the Georgia Bar, and through your acquaintances. There is no need to hire the most expensive lawyer you can find; on the other hand, document preparation services that advertise crazy low prices like $149 do not file the paperwork for you and do not represent you. You can download forms for free and fill them out for free from various county websites. Bear in mind, however, that as of this year all filings must be electronic and you will find that hiring a flat-fee attorney is the best course.
What is an Uncontested Divorce?
In an uncontested divorce the couple reach an agreement on all issues before any documents are filed. I am often asked whether the divorce is uncontested if the parties are in general agreement, but one party will not sign the documents. The answer is No. The parties must be willing to sign the documents or the divorce is considered contested.
Tips for an Amicable Uncontested Divorce
1. Remain Calm During the Process.
Think twice before starting a fight with your spouse even if your spouse seems to be making unreasonable demands. Ask for help from mutually trusted friends and relatives, and, if needed, use the services of a mediator before filing the complaint.
2. Usually, Time is of the Essence.
Have your uncontested attorney send you a preliminary settlement agreement, so that you can write down your agreement. Ultimately, it’s all about reaching a written agreement the parties will sign. The sooner this is accomplished, the better, because people hear things from “friends” and before you know it you have a contested divorce on your hands. However, do not “force” an agreement. Let it play out. The agreement has the best chance of survival if it is a mutual agreement. Both parties must want it and “buy into” it.
3. Seek a Free Consultation
Many family lawyers now offer free consultations and you can gage whether the lawyer is right for you. Look at the lawyer’s reviews on Avvo.com to get a sense of whether others have had good experiences with the lawyer.
While there might not be anything to fight over in an uncontested divorce, hiring a professional lawyer is always beneficial. In addition to drafting a good divorce agreement, the lawyer will also file the documents electronically and represent you at the final hearing if one is required – some judges require a final hearing if minor children are involved.
Best of luck to you!