Divorce is likely one of the most stressful events of a person’s life. There is no way to make the process completely seamless and easy, however, taking the time to prepare for the challenge and complexity of what lies ahead can be critical to how smoothly the process will go. One spouse can only control his or her own actions, however, the decisions a person makes when filing for divorce can set the tone and temperature for the entirety of the divorce process. If you are considering a divorce, make sure you take the time to prepare yourself as much as possible in every area that you can. While not every decision or eventuality can be prepared for, controlling what you can and making decisions ahead of time before emotions and anxiety enter the picture can be the best tactic for all involved.Contested v. Uncontested Divorce
Most divorces are contested, which means that both of the spouses simply do not agree on all major issues such as child support calculations, the division of marital property and debt, child custody arrangements, or spousal support. If it is possible for you to consider these areas prior to filing for divorce, you may have a better opportunity to have a quicker, more amicable, and less expensive divorce.
There are many differences between contested and uncontested divorces. Contested divorces will typically include an entire financial discovery process in which both spouses claim under penalty of perjury the number of assets and debts that they currently have, and what marital assets have been accumulated throughout the entirety of the marriage. Additionally, contested divorces may include depositions, testimony, and extensive calculations and paperwork.
Conversely, uncontested divorces are ones in which the spouses typically agree on almost all major issues listed above, though legal documents still need to be filed with the court in order to make the divorce legally binding. Both parties will still need to go before a judge and attest to the fact that these matters are agreed upon. Typically, if the family court judge sees that both spouses are in agreement on all major issues, they will simply ratify the agreement that the spouses have created, and the divorce will be ordered.
Contested divorces take a great deal more time and money than uncontested divorces due to the lack of agreement by both parties. If you anticipate having a contested divorce, you should obtain legal representation by an attorney. However, even if you are having an uncontested divorce, you should contact an attorney to ensure that all of your legal rights are being protected regarding your finances and your child support, spousal support and custody matters.Divorce Preparation Checklist
Nothing can ever fully prepare a person emotionally for a divorce. However, there are certain things you should take into consideration before filing to obtain a divorce to ensure that you have considered all of the most important aspects that will need to be decided throughout the process.
- Take Time Before Actually Filing. Before you actually file the divorce complaint (which is a point of no return for most spouses), you should take time to carefully consider whether or not you actually want a divorce. Do not threaten to file for divorce unless you actually are considering going through with the process.
- Take a Close Look at Your Financial Situation. Most people, especially those who do not handle the day-to-day finances are unaware of how they will financially handle their situation following a divorce. Take the time to seriously examine all of the marital assets you have, and how you will be able to make a living and support yourself and your children after a divorce. Consider consulting with a financial adviser, if necessary.
- Establish Realistic Expectations for Child Custody and Child Support. Every parent wants to have as much time as possible with their children. However, most courts will attempt to allow both parents to enjoy joint physical and legal custody of the children. Take time now, before the stress and challenges of a divorce, to consider what your realistic expectations should be for child custody and child support.
- Determine Where You Will Live. Do not leave the marital home unless you or your children are in any kind of danger. It is always more difficult to move back into a family home once you have left it. Consider what other options you will have if you are unable or can not afford to live in the marital home. If you are considering a divorce, discussing your options with a knowledgeable attorney can be beneficial before making any decisions.
After thinking about all of the considerations on the checklist and whether or not you will have a contested or uncontested divorce, make sure your legal rights are protected in your divorce in the area of Charlotte, Mooresville, or Monroe, North Carolina. Contact an experienced divorce attorney at Arnold & Smith, PLLC at 704.370.2828 or online today for your initial consultation.