What is an Uncontested Divorce – by Columbus Georgia Lawyer Mark Jones
Lawyer Mark Jones is often asked what an uncontested divorce is when interviewing clients in Columbus, Georgia and Phenix City, Alabama who are going through difficult times in their marriage. It is probably best to answer this question in the negative — by looking at what an uncontested divorce is not. This is a significant issue, because Lawyer Mark Jones will charge a flat fee when dealing with an “uncontested” divorce. So what exactly is an uncontested divorce not.
You do not have an “uncontested divorce” when:
1. You have not discussed the potential for a divorce with your spouse. When Lawyer Mark Jones meets with a potential client regarding handling a divorce case, he will always ask the potential client whether they have talked about the possibility of divorce with his or her spouse. Oftentimes, the potential divorcing spouse who approaches me has not even discussed the matter of divorce. There is simply a hope that the matter will go smoothly and without significant issues. Humans are messy, complex, and emotional. You simply do not have an uncontested divorce until you have discussed the divorce fully with your spouse. Obviously there may be safety issues here that prevent such discussion. Please use your best judgment.
2. You have reached an agreement on only some — but not all — of the relevant issues. A divorce necessarily involves several major issues:
- Equitable division: how are you and your spouse going to divide up the stuff?
- Alimony and spousal support: if one spouse is the breadwinner or makes significantly more than the other, how will the spouse who makes nothing or significantly less support his/herself during and after the divorce?
- Child Custody: who will be the primary physical custodian of the children as set out in the parenting plan that is required? What custody arrangement are you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse going to use?
- Relocation issues: is one spouse going to move after the divorce? Where will everyone be living after the divorce and how does this impact custody plans?
- Child Support Issues: when will support be paid, and in what amount? Is the “agreed upon” amount consistent with the presumptive child support amount in OCGA 19-6-15? Are deviations upward or downward required in order to support the child?
- Debt Issues: which spouse will assume the various car notes, credit cards, or mortgage(s)?
- Military Issues: is the spouse making a claim for part of a soldier’s military retirement?
3. One spouse has engaged in misconduct such as adultery. Marital misconduct leads to significant emotional response from one spouse. It is a rare person indeed that is mature enough to put those emotions aside to think about the financial and custodial implications associated with a divorce. Some people are capable of such. However, cases involving spousal misconduct almost always lead to contested, protracted litigation.
4. The spouses have not been separated for a significant amount of time. Normally uncontested divorces involve mature individuals who may have been separated for many years, but simply never gotten around to completing the necessary paperwork for a divorce to be finalized. If a spouse has not been separated for a significant period of time, it is very unlikely that the divorce will be “uncontested” simply because emotions are still running high.
As you can see, with so many issues involved, it is extremely rare to find a truly “uncontested” divorce. A good test for whether your case is truly uncontested is as follows: will your spouse come to your lawyer’s office with you? If the answer is no, then your divorce is very likely contested because it means you all are not able to communicate about the case in a candid way in front of a professional trying to help. However, just because your divorce is contested does not mean that you cannot get cost-effective, efficient representation to get you out of the marriage. Rather, it simply means that the divorce will take longer and will likely cost more than it should.
Lawyer Mark Jones offers courtesy consultations for potential family law clients in Columbus Georgia and Phenix City Alabama. Please call Mark Jones today to schedule a consultation regarding your family law case.
[schema type=”organization” orgtype=”Corporation” url=”www.LawyerMarkJones.Com” name=”Law Offices of Mark P. Jones” description=”Columbus Ga Lawyer Mark Jones” street=”233 12th Street” pobox=”427″ city=”Columbus” state=”Georgia” postalcode=”31902″ country=”United States” email=”email@example.com” phone=”706-225-2555″ fax=”706-255-2556″ ]