An Uncontested Divorce Saves Your Money
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).
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COMMUNITY PROPERTY VERSUS EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION -- There are two basic ways to handle divorce property division: Community Property: Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin and Puerto Rico are community property states. This means that all marital property is typically defined as community property or separate property. When divorcing, community property is typically divided evenly, and each spouse keeps his or her separate property. Equitable Distribution: All other states follow equitable distribution. This means that a judge decides what is equitable, or fair, rather than simply splitting the property in two. In practice, this may mean that two-thirds of the property goes to the higher earning spouse, with the other spouse getting one-third.
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