Uncontested Divorce vs. Contested Divorce

It is more likely for your divorce to be uncontested when you know your rights.

It is more likely for your divorce to be uncontested when you know your rights.

When a prospective client calls to discuss a divorce, one of the first questions I ask is whether the case is contested or uncontested.  This is especially true when people want to know how much I charge for divorce.  Uncontested divorces are much cheaper because there are no issues to be decided by a judge or mediator.  Most people hope their divorce will be uncontested, but in reality there are very few truly uncontested divorces.

The Uncontested Divorce. An uncontested divorce is one in which both spouses want the divorce.  They have discussed the issues: how the property and debts will be divided, whether maintenance will be paid and how much, where the children will live, how much child support will be paid, how much parenting time the non-custodial parent will have with the children.  Whatever the issues the soon-to-be ex-spouses face, they have discussed them and have reached an agreement.  It is very helpful for the agreement to be in writing, to prevent miscommunication and misunderstanding.  Uncontested divorces are rare because if the spouses could communicate and reach consensus, the chances are they wouldn’t be getting a divorce.

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Do-It-Yourself Divorce?

Representing yourself in court can be scary.

Representing yourself in court can be scary.

Do I have to hire a lawyer to get a divorce?  The answer is no:  you have the right to represent yourself in court. Pro se (pronounced “pro say”) is the term used to describe a party who represents himself in court, without an attorney.  In as many as half of the divorces filed in El Paso County today, neither party hires a lawyer.  The most common reason a person will represent himself is the high cost of hiring an attorney.  While you can represent yourself, for the reasons stated below, I don’t recommend it.

Why does divorce cost so much?  The old punchline says…. Continue reading