An UNCONTESTED DIVORCE is typically a relatively low cost and stress free way to end to a marriage. At the Law Offices of Andrew J. Gilbride, we begin every consultation hoping that this is the outcome.
An UNCONTESTED DIVORCE is essentially a negotiation and agreement between two spouses regarding the dispersal of assets, etc. This agreement, once signed, merges into and becomes the final Judgment of Divorce.
While an UNCONTESTED DIVORCE is indeed the easier and more cost efficient way to end a marriage, it is not appropriate in all situations. It is important to remember that UNCONTESTED DIVORCE is a contract. And, all contracts have terms, which need to be negotiated. When dissolving a marriage, one spouse may try to take advantage of the other – either accidentally or purposefully. Unless you are aware of your rights, you may unknowingly enter into an agreement that has severe ramifications and could impact the financial outcome of your divorce.Grounds and Terms for Uncontested Divorce
There are grounds for entering into an UNCONTESTED DIVORCE. These grounds stipulate the following:
That for a period of more than six (6) months prior to the filing of this action the marital relationship has irretrievably broken down and all economic issues are fully resolved. DRL170(7)
Several terms that must have also been agreed to in order to enter into an UNCONTESTED DIVORCE are: Equitable Distribution, Child Support, Maintenance/Alimony, Child Custody and Visitation, Health Insurance. Meaning, all economic issues must already be determined and agreed upon in order to enter into an UNCONTESTED DIVORCE.
The parties can mutually agree without the help of attorneys to resolve their financial circumstances, but in most cases, there needs to be a settlement agreement. Settlement agreements typically resolve the majority of divorces and address all the issues, including financial and any child support. Settlement agreements can be as simple or complex as the parties need in order to address individual circumstances. A well drafted settlement agreement is essential in protecting your rights.Uncontested Divorce With Child Support
When there are situations in UNCONTESTED DIVORCES that involve child support, there are guidelines that must be followed, per the Child Support Standards Act (CSSA). The party who will be paying child support has a basic financial obligation based upon his or her adjusted gross income. The CSSA provides a “presumptive amount” or an amount that is based upon this income that should be paid. When there are questions regarding a spouse’s actual income, it is difficult to agree to terms for an UNCONTESTED DIVORCE involving child support. Additionally, expenses such as child care, education, extracurricular activities, college tuition, are typically assigned at a pro-rata rate. A pro-rata obligation is the sharing of expenses based on a percentage of each party’s income.Is Uncontested Divorce Right for You?
If emotions are too raw or if you and your spouse have never been able to agree on the simplest thing, this option of UNCONTESTED DIVORCE may not be the most practical option for your situation. Before advising you to attempt this type of negotiation, we will spend some time understanding your goals regarding the divorce. These are your goals, specific to your situation, and not part of some pre-made do-it-yourself form.
You may have heard of Divorce Mediation. This has become very popular and is an offshoot of UNCONTESTED DIVORCE. Here, both parties hire one attorney to represent both of them and serve as referee and move the two parties toward settlement. Once an agreement is stipulated to, both parties must agree. Each party is also advised to show the agreement to another attorney to ensure fairness. In divorce mediation, parties often become deadlocked in their positions and the process ends. The CONTESTED DIVORCE process will then begin anew with two new lawyers and the money spent on mediation is wasted.Contact Us
Please call us today at (631) 591-2227 for a free consultation. The Law Offices of Andrew J. Gilbride, ESQ. will review your situation, explain the options, and work together with you to find the solution that best fits your needs.