Mason explains that the only way you have a legally uncontested divorce is if you both agree to divorce and agree on a resolution of ALL the issues concerning children (including custody, visitation, child support and other vital areas of child welfare) and property. You also need to be in total agreement whether there will be spousal maintenance (casually called 'alimony'), and how much and for how long. There's also division of debts and property to consider.
“It’s the negotiation and settlement of these potentially thorny issues that makes many divorces slow, expensive and contentious. The paperwork is typically the least of people’s worries,” Mason says.
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After the main issues have been tackled, the piles of paperwork must be filled out and filed.
THIRD, CONSIDER WHETHER SMALL COST-CUTTING MEASURES WORK FOR YOUR SITUATION
Dara Strickland, an attorney in St. Louis with Strickland Family Law, advises clients on ways to save money during divorce. Finding the forms needed for an uncontested divorce online for a reduced price or even for free is one way couples can cut costs during the process. An online service may help you prepare those forms for a lesser price than attorneys charge for their time to write them up. State family court websites may also offer these forms for free.
“Online forms with a price attached are kind of the worst of both worlds-you pay for the same thing the court gives out for free and still don’t get the legal advice you’d get from going to an attorney,” she says.
FOURTH, STEER CLEAR OF ONLINE SERVICES ALTOGETHER IF YOU HAVE CHILDREN
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“Divorcing parents have many additional responsibilities that must be met before finalizing any divorce,” stresses Rosalind Sedacca, founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network.
Sedacca doesn’t want parents to feel the need to shell out tons of money for big-shot divorce attorneys who boast their court litigation expertise, either.
“Parents need to work with divorce mediators or Collaborative Divorce Attorneys,” she says. By doing this, the children’s best interest is put ahead of anything else and both parents can be successful head in the years to come. “The goal is to minimize the trauma and pain for children and encourage parents to share parenting responsibilities whenever possible. Children in low-tension divorces do much better long-term than children whose parents continue fighting, disrespect one-another and let resentment color their parenting decisions.”
An online divorce is too dangerous for such important futures when it comes to children, she says.
FINALLY, TALK TO PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN THERE