Most of the time when people think of divorce, they think of long, drawn-out court battles where spouses are adversaries. Unfortunately, divorce has that reputation for a reason; there are many situations where couples are unable to come to agreement and need a judge to preside over the case. We see it played out on TV, in the movies, and even in the tabloids.
In some situations, spouses are able to agree on the major issues, including how to handle child custody, child support, alimony, the division of property, and related issues, before filing for divorce. When that is the case, it may make sense to proceed with an uncontested divorce.
Uncontested divorces can be faster, cheaper, and less stressful than contested divorces. While some couples assume they do not need legal representation for uncontested divorces, a skilled family law attorney can still add value to the process, helping protect your interests and rights.
When you choose to work with an Atlanta divorce attorney at Kitchens New Cleghorn, LLC, we can help you understand the process, complete the required forms and filings, and help if it is necessary to negotiate disputes that may arise.
Different Types of Atlanta Uncontested Divorces
The process, filings, and cost for uncontested divorces can vary, depending on the circumstances. For example, an uncontested divorce where the couple did not have any minor children will likely be easier, faster and less expensive than a divorce involving minor children.
Sometimes, uncontested divorces are completely one-sided because the other spouse does not answer or sign any documents at all. If that happens and the other spouse does not answer or respond within 30 days of service of notice, the spouse who filed initially can request a default divorce decree.
- Named Partner with 18+ Years Experience
- Lauded for aggressive client advocacy and intelligent legal approaches
- Appeared as Legal Analyst on CNN, C-SPAN , FOX News’ The O’Reilly Factor, and MSNBC’s “Buchanan and Press”, and CNNfn.
Anyone considering an uncontested divorce should also be aware that there is always the possibility that one spouse will change their mind and decide to contest the details of the divorce settlement, changing an uncontested divorce to a contested divorce.
Understanding the Legal Process
Even an uncontested divorce has several steps and moving pieces, so it’s important to understand the process from beginning to end.
If you want an uncontested divorce, either you or your spouse will need to file a document called a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with the court. You may also file a Marital Settlement Agreement at the same time. This document includes the decisions and arrangements you and your spouse came to regarding property division, child support and custody, alimony, and any other divorce-related decisions.
The spouse who did not file the petition would then file a document that waives formal service and notice. This step can help by speeding up the process without having unnecessary hearings and notices.
Both you and your spouse will also need to file copies of existing separation agreements and documents disclosing your individual finances.
Court review and next steps
The court may ask you or your spouse to provide additional documentation before your divorce can be granted, even if you and your spouse are in agreement about the substantive decisions.
As you can see, the process involves filing a number of related, and often confusing, forms with the court. Depending on the specific circumstances of your divorce, you may need to file a settlement agreement, a parenting plan, a child support addendum, in addition to the court motions and pleadings.
Finalizing the divorce
Generally, uncontested divorce cases can be finalized within a matter of months after filing, depending on the county where the case was filed. The divorce can be proclaimed as final in no earlier than thirty-one (31) days after all of the documents have been signed and filed with the court.
Understand that the court may still require a hearing to review the information provided in your filings and pleadings. In those types of hearings, you and your spouse will likely need to answer some questions to help the judge understand that you and your spouse are in agreement.
When Atlanta Uncontested Divorces May Not be Best
Most of the time, when spouses can agree on how to amicably split, an uncontested divorce will work well. However, an uncontested divorce may not be advisable if one spouse isn’t on equal footing with the other.
When you consult with Kitchens New Cleghorn, LLC, we can help you evaluate your case so we can recommend the best way to move forward.
How a Family Law Attorney can Help with an Uncontested Divorce
Agreeing on the substance of how your assets and liabilities will be divided, and on how child custody, visitation, child support, alimony, and other matters will be handled is one thing. Being able to draft sometimes complex legal documents for the court, outlining what you and your spouse agreed on, is another matter entirely. Unless you are a legal professional, you risk making errors on the court documents simply because you didn’t fully understand what information you were being asked to provide.
Your family law attorney will be able to help you prepare pleadings and filings with an eye toward protecting your best interests. Similarly, if your spouse’s attorney prepared those documents, your attorney can review them to make sure the documents actually reflect your understanding and your wishes. There’s too much at stake in a divorce matter to leave the details to chance.
Because the nature of a divorce means that your interests are adverse to your spouse’s interests, each spouse in a divorce matter should have their own attorney. This is true for both contested and uncontested divorce actions. Your spouse’s attorney cannot represent you and, if you choose to retain Kitchens New Cleghorn, LLC, we will not be able to represent your spouse.
Choose Kitchens New Cleghorn, LLC to Help You Through Your Divorce Action
Even if you believe that you and your spouse are in complete agreement on all of the issues related to your divorce, it is still wise to involve an attorney who can help shepherd you through the legal process with the ease that comes from years of experience helping others in similar cases.
When you choose the experienced, dedicated family law attorneys at Kitchens New Cleghorn, LLC, you can be certain that your case is in good hands, whether your divorce proceeds as an uncontested matter, or requires some negotiation to reach agreement.
Find out more about how we help clients in uncontested divorce cases by calling us at 404.996.0806, or by contacting us online to schedule an initial consultation today.