Congratulations if you’re going through an uncontested divorce. I’m going to assume that means you and your spouse were able to work out a marital settlement on your own. The divorce is proceeding amicably and both parties are acting in good faith.
The good news is that by coming to an agreement, you’re saving time and money. You won’t have to negotiate through attorneys, or go through mediation, or attend multiple hearings where judges make the decisions.
For many people in an uncontested divorce, the next step will be filing the paperwork for divorce on their own and appearing in court pro se. Pro se is a legal term for representing yourself without the assistance of an attorney.
The state of Florida tries to make this easier. It gives self-help information online about steps in the divorce process. The state’s Supreme Court has created ready-made forms for marital settlements, parenting plans and other requirements that can be downloaded and filled out.
However, I strongly recommend this advice: If you pursue the do-it-yourself approach, consult with an attorney, too, even though the divorce is uncontested. This is a best-of-both worlds course of action that will protect your interests and your wallet in the long run.
Doing most of the work yourself can save you money. However, if you make a mistake – or overlook an important consideration that is unique to you – it could be very costly to fix later. And, not to mention, cause heartache, too. The wise thing to do is find an attorney who will serve as a consultant and check to see that the right legal language is being used and the forms are filled out correctly.
At the Law Office of Jeanne Coleman, we offer this service. We have a flat fee for uncontested divorces and make sure that it is money well spent for our clients.
We strongly believe that our clients deserve peace of mind from knowing their divorces are being handled and filed properly while they are still saving on costs. And we point out red flags so major issues won’t appear down the road.
I once had a client who needed help seven years after he and his ex-wife got a divorce without an attorney. They forgot to stipulate what would happen with jointly owned investment property and were at odds about repairs and whether to sell. Unfortunately, the costly dispute ended up in litigation and there were tax consequences as well. This could have been avoided if the divorce settlement had dealt with the issue.
Meanwhile, I urge parents to be sure they are in full agreement. There is a lot to talk about for parenting plans. For instance, who will pay for your son’s car insurance when he is old enough to drive? If you want to relocate with your children after the divorce, can you? We answer questions like this as part of our service and can point out what you may not have thought of.
At the Jeanne Coleman law firm, we are dedicated to helping our clients through divorces so they emerge whole and ready for new lives. If you are in need of a divorce attorney, we welcome your call and offer free 20-minute consultations. Call (813) 253-2820.