What is an ‘uncontested divorce’?
An uncontested divorce is a divorce where you and your spouse have reached an agreement on all issues and need an attorney to create legal documents which will be reviewed by the Judge before granting you a divorce. Typically, parties agree on the distribution of assets and liabilities.
What issues need to be decided?
Children (time-sharing and child support), property, financial (bank accounts, retirement accounts, credit card bills to name a few) and alimony. Depending on your case, there may be others.
- Both parties agree on a formal Parenting Plan
- A child support arrangement is agreed upon (Note, if you choose to calculate child support yourself, we recommend using the on-line child support calculator)
What is the process?
I will need all of the information on the agreement that you and your spouse have reached. A marital settlement agreement and other documents required by the Court will be prepared for your review. You will sign the necessary documents and they will be sent to your spouse for signing. After all necessary documents have been signed, your case will be filed and a final hearing will be set. I will appear at the final hearing with you to present your case to the Judge. When the Judge has heard your case, you will receive a Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage.
Fees – I charge a flat fee for an uncontested divorce. This varies depending on whether there are children or real property. There should be no surprises in a divorce. In an uncontested divorce, to avoid a conflict of interest, I can only meet with and represent one party. I encourage the non-represented spouse to have the divorce paperwork reviewed at their discretion by an attorney.
If you would like for our office to calculate child support for you:
- We utilize a program that accounts for annual updates in taxes, deductions and credit
- To prepare, please provide the last 3 months of pay stubs from your employer and your most recent W-2’s
- Provide a breakdown of both parties’ health insurance and health insurance for children
- Provide a summary of daycare expenses
- The service fee for Child Support Calculation is: $150
When preparing an uncontested divorce yourself, you may not competently address:
- Parenting plan issues
- Child support issues down the road
- Distribution of retirement plans
- Distribution of real property
QDRO (Qualified Domestic Relations Order)
A QDRO should be fully understood by both parties as it pertains to retirement plans.
According to the Internal Revenue Service, a QDRO is “a judgment, decree, or order for a retirement plan to pay child support, alimony, or marital property rights to a spouse, former spouse, child, or other dependents of a [retirement plan] participant.”
The ramifications of not engaging with experienced legal help concerning a QDRO can be devastating. An improperly drafted QDRO, or lack of a QDRO, could result in a party not receiving their share of a retirement plan or not receiving anything at all.
Our office handled a case where a paralegal helped the parties do a MSA (Marital Settlement Agreement) which dealt with about 6 pieces of real property. It was not executed correctly and each party ended up paying thousands of dollars of legal fees to straighten it out. With the help of an attorney upfront, the MSA would have correctly described the disposition of the real property.
What we offer:
- Less time and stress for you in having a properly drafted Marital Settlement Agreement
- Making sure all forms are legally correct
- No waiting for the case manager to set your case for hearing
- Obtain accurate calculations if child support is an issue
- Use the proper language in the FJ (Final Judgement) to reserve over a QDRO
- Do a name change
- Your time invested is less stressful and more constructive. Most people experience frustration in filling out the forms because they are a “one size fits all”.
- Would you rather pay a flat fee for legal services or worry about paying fees to fix problems later?
- Do you have a tolerance for filling out forms that can become confusing?
- Are you comfortable moving into an area that you have never experienced?
From the time you retain our firm to represent you through the conclusion of your case, we ensure that you are fully informed about the status of your case and well-prepared to attend any settlement conference or other meetings.
We use our legal expertise and extensive litigation experience to assist you in weighing your options at each stage of your case. We are here to help and guide you through your family law case, and to expertly assist you with any legal problems that may arise after the case is over.
Contact us if you have questions about family law and uncontested divorce proceedings: 813-253-2820