This is the next post in my series on obtaining an uncontested divorce in Melbourne, Florida. My last article addressed the commonly asked question of “can I file for an uncontested divorce?” It is important to understand that the parties must be in agreement on all issues in order to go through the simplified process. Any disagreement will mean that the parties must, instead, file a contested case. Quite often it is in the best interest of the parties to go through the more streamlined process as it can save time, money, and legal fees. Discussing your situation with an attorney can help you to determine your best course of action. In this article I will discuss the process of going through an uncontested case. If you or a loved one are in need of assistance then contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.
The first step in the process is to file a Petition for a Simplified Dissolution of Marriage
A case for divorce may be filed in our state as long as one of the spouses has resided here for at least six months. If this jurisdictional requirement is met, and the parties are in agreement on all issues (including spousal support, child custody, etc.), then the first step in the uncontested process is to file a Petition for a Simplified Dissolution of Marriage. This is a document in which the parties state that they wish to end their marriage and that there is no disagreement as to the terms of the matter. A settlement agreement, spelling out all of those terms, will be attached to the Petition. Once this document is filed with the Court then an uncontested hearing (sometimes referred to as a “prove up hearing”) will be scheduled. The parties will attend, along with their attorney, and the Judge will ensure that the terms of the settlement are agreeable to both parties. The Court will then sign off on a final Decree of Divorce and the matter will be concluded.
Retaining an attorney can be crucial to ensuring that your matter is handled correctly. If an issue is not covered by the agreement then the parties may very well find themselves back in Court. Suppose, for example, that the parties financed a car in each of their names and the husband is the primary driver. The divorce settlement simply says that the husband will keep the car but says nothing about the outstanding loan. This debt will be considered “marital” in nature and, furthermore, the wife will remain liable to the lender as her name is also on the loan. This means that she faces negative credit consequences for having the outstanding debt and will be potentially liable for missed payments. This is the type of issue which parties often overlook when handling matters themselves. By retaining an experienced lawyer, you help to ensure that no issues are overlooked.
An experienced lawyer can help Melbourne spouses determine if an uncontested divorce is in their best interest
More often than many realize, an uncontested divorce is often in the best interest of spouses who are going their separate ways. This is due to the fact that the law regarding the division of marital assets and debts is clear. Also, many parents often have unrealistic expectations as to how Courts will rule over child custody disagreements. Quite often the parties could in fact reach a settlement, at the beginning of a case, which is similar to how the Court would likely rule at an eventual trial. By reaching an agreed upon resolution, many can save themselves the time, money, and aggravation which comes with the legal system.
If you are considering ending a marriage then contact my office today to speak with a Melbourne family law attorney. We will help you through the process and will offer advice meant to ensure that you are taking the best possible path forward. My office prides itself on providing a high level of service and we look forward to speaking with you. We also serve the cities of Titusville, Cocoa, Palm Bay, Grant, Valkaria, and Rockledge, as well as in the Indian River County areas of Fellsmere, Sebastian, Vero Beach, Indian River Shores, and Orchid.