An Uncontested Divorce Saves Your Money
Key Points
  • An uncontested divorce will provide the opportunity to save time and certainly money on excess legal fees.
  • An uncontested divorce may not happen immediately, but with good negotiation and cooperation from each spouse it is certainly attainable. Most divorce cases are uncontested eventually, it just depends on what is spent and how much time it takes to get to that point.

Divorcing spouses should always remember that every dollar spent on legal fees means one less dollar that one or the other of them will have when each begins a new life as a single person. An uncontested divorce saves both spouses money. This truth remains an eternal verity of divorce, in good times and bad. There is no getting around the fact that a divorce costs money. There is no escape from the fact that setting up a second household usually means reduced standards of living for at least a time. But spouses who can file an uncontested divorce can cut the cost of divorce significantly.

Nothing runs up the cost of a divorce faster than two lawyers jockeying for the best position in preparation for a legal battle.

In any divorce, the spouses negotiate the terms and conditions of the division and distribution of the marital estate, and if applicable, spousal and child support and visitation. The more of this the spouses do together, the less the lawyers have to do. Anything a lawyer does for a client costs money. So if two spouses cooperate and surrender to each other what he or she needs to know, then neither lawyer need to engage in costly discovery. Discovery is one of the most time consuming and expensive aspects of litigation.

An uncontested divorce often takes shape when the spouses , and that failing, they try mediation or a collaborative law approach. In mediation a third-party helps the spouses find common ground; in collaborative law, each spouse uses a lawyer who acts as a negotiator in face-to-face discussions. The goal of spousal negotiations, mediation or collaborative law is to avoid court warfare - a contested divorce. The reward of an uncontested divorce is more money for the spouses, not to mention less emotional damage.

An uncontested divorce does not mean that the two spouses magically agree to everything, nor does it mean they do not argue and even fight. An uncontested divorce means they do not do it in court. It means that by the time the spouses get to court the two of them have reached agreement about everything, so there is nothing left for the judge to decide.

When spouses make an uncontested filing a goal, neither is likely to engage in frivolous filings designed to harass the other spouse.

A contested divorce that goes to trial is the expensive way to end a marriage. An uncontested divorce costs, on average, about $1,500. A contested divorce costs, on average, about $15,000 (and in some cases, much more).

Useful Online Tools

Suggested Reading
The Property Division Handbook The Property Division Handbook
This book will explain in detail the property distribution aspect of divorce and separation. It will focus on the rights each spouse has under certain laws, situations, and circumstances, and how the division of the property will be decided by the court or through negotiation.

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SPOUSES CAN DO IT -- The easiest and least expensive way for a couple to divide and distribute the marital estate is for the spouses to do it themselves. Courts approve any settlement that is fair and reasonable. When courts divide property, normally the judge grants each spouse a percentage of the total value.
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