Uncontested Divorce Process
Unlike the more adversarial contested divorce process which begins when one party files a Complaint against the other, an uncontested divorce is a joint process where the parties work together to reach an agreement as to the terms of their separation. In an uncontested divorce, the parties must be in complete agreement regarding all issues surrounding the divorce, such as child custody, child support, alimony, property division, division of debt, health insurance, life/disability insurance and tax consequences. The specific terms of the divorce must be put into a formal written document called a Separation Agreement. As the terms of the agreement will have a significant and often permanent impact on your family and finances it is critical that you retain a qualified Salem uncontested divorce attorney. You need to be sure that you are being treated fairly and that your interests are served when entering into a separation agreement. We have years of experience negotiating and drafting separation agreements that protect the rights of our clients.
Advantages of a Massachusetts Uncontested Divorce
There are many advantages to filing an uncontested divorce such as the ability to dictate the terms of the divorce, the amount of time it takes to get divorced, cost of attorney fees and the overall peace of mind of forgoing the adversarial process.
Control of Terms – Working with a competent divorce lawyer you will be able to craft a detailed separation agreement that is tailored to your situation. Where if your case went to trial a judge would more likely implement standard boilerplate terms that may not meet your specific needs. By reaching an agreement you can create a comprehensive parenting plan that is specific to the needs of your children and takes into account the schedules of the parents. Moreover, an agreement will allow you to enter specific terms regarding the division of assets. For example, a judge may order the parties to sell the marital home, whereas with a separation agreement the parties could delay the sale until the market improves. In general, an uncontested divorce allows the parties to dictate the terms of their divorce and create a separation agreement that is specific to their situation.
Time – There are no time restrictions with an uncontested divorce, whereas in a contested situation the parties must wait a minimum of six months before they can be divorced.
Cost of Divorce – The cost of an uncontested divorce is much less, as you are only paying an attorney to draft the separation agreement and other documents associated with the divorce. Whereas, in a contested situation your attorney will need to request discovery, file motions and prepare for trial. In many instances a truly uncontested divorce can be done for a flat fee as low as $2,000.00.
Peace of Mind – A divorce is a stressful time for the whole family and it is often preferable to avoid a contested divorce battle between spouses. It is always easier when the parties can work out an agreement instead of fighting over every detail of their separation in court. If you and your spouse decide to proceed with an uncontested divorce, an attorney at Tangusso Law can help ensure that you are following the proper channels when you are filing your divorce documents. The Massachusetts legal system does require knowledge and delicacy, and an uncontested divorce attorney from our law firm can make sure that you do not waste money and time throughout the process.
Separation Agreements in Massachusetts
A separation agreement, also known as a martial agreement, is a written agreement that governs the conduct and responsibilities of the parties after their divorce. A separation agreement allows the parties and counsel to negotiate the terms of settlement, giving the parties greater control over the ultimate outcome. Once the agreement is drafted and signed it will be presented to the Court for approval. The judge assigned to the case must determine that the agreement is fair and reasonable and is free from fraud and coercion before approving the agreement. The judge is not required to hold an evidentiary hearing to determine the fairness of the agreement, but may do so if deemed necessary. In addition, the judge does not need to determine whether the agreement reflects the same judgment he or she would enter if the case were to be brought to trial; he or she only needs to determine that the agreement presented is fair and reasonable. When determining whether an agreement is fair and reasonable the judge will consider the following factors:
- the financial and property division of the agreement as a whole;
- the context in which negotiations took place;
- the complexity of the issues involved;
- the background and knowledge of the parties;
- the experience and ability of counsel;
- the need for and the ability of experts to assist the parties and counsel; and
- the mandatory and, if deemed appropriate, discretionary factors set forth in G.L. c.208 §34.
Uncontested Divorce Attorneys – Flat Fee
We offer a flat fee for many uncontested divorce cases although the fee depends on complexity of each case. You can be sure that we will protect your rights when entering into an uncontested divorce. A separation agreement will have a lasting impact on your family and it is important that you retain an experienced divorce attorney.
An uncontested divorce can be more cost-effective and quicker than a contested divorce. If you have questions or concerns regarding an uncontested divorce, do not hesitate to contact us with questions. We have the experience and legal knowledge you need to get the results you desire.