Last Updated: December 30, 2022
Divorcing by agreement can save you a lot of money and time. Divorce can be an expensive process that becomes necessary for many couples. Unfortunately, costs associated with divorce might force many people to file for bankruptcy during or after a divorce. The good news? There is a way to prevent this from happening. An amicable divorce reduces the level of emotions involved in ending a marriage and may also reduce the costs. Working with an experienced family law attorney that can mediate and negotiate problem areas can save you thousands of dollars through divorcing by agreement. Divorce attorneys also provide free consultations here.
Divorcing By Agreement Saves You Time and Money!
Divorcing by agreement (also known as an agreed divorce or an uncontested divorce) occurs when both parties agree on all points of the divorce and meet certain criteria established by the residence state. In addition to being faster and easier, an agreed divorce costs less because there are fewer court documents to complete and it is not mandatory to have a lawyer fight it out for you over things such as custody or property.
Divorcing by Agreement: How To Do It:
Agreed divorce, also called an uncontested divorce, involves a number of different issues related to the divorce. The main issues that both people must agree to are: 1.) the grounds for the divorce; 2.) the division and distribution of property, debts, and assets; and 3.) Any agreement regarding child custody (decision making and parenting time) and even child support. It sounds overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be that way. To obtain a divorce by agreement, both parties have to be willing to work together, cooperate, and come to an agreement on these issues without asking the family court judge to make the decision for them.
Agreed Divorce Process
In order to begin the process of divorcing by agreement, the married couple must file a petition for dissolution of marriage with the court in the county where one or both of them reside. Keep in mind, there are specific time frames that govern ‘jurisdiction’, so knowing the time frames and ow long you have resided in a specific county/state determine whether you can file the divorce in that county. Eventually, the court will review the agreement (Judgment and Marital Settlement Agreement) to ensure that it is fair, reasonable, and not unconscionable. If the judge concludes that the Judgment looks acceptable, the court will grant the divorce and enter the Judgment dissolving the marriage.
Agreed Divorce is Available Everywhere
Divorcing by agreement is available to all married couples in all 50-states. However, a “joint simplified divorce procedure” that results in lower court costs is not available in all instances. For example, the state of Tennessee requires one or both parties to have resided in-state for six months prior to filing divorce paperwork or when deciding to divorce. This is the whole ‘jurisdiction’ issue mentioned above.
For a ‘joint simplified divorce in Tennessee (like many states, for example) the couple cannot have any children together who are disabled, still in high school, or younger than 18. Both parties must want to end the marriage, the couple cannot have retirement benefits or own a business, buildings, or land together, and they must agree on alimony (spousal maintenance) and a complete division of property. This does not mean that you cannot still have an uncontested divorce, it simply means that the joint simplified divorce procedure is not available to everyone.
Experienced Lawyers Help You Divorce by Agreement!
Agreed divorce help from a knowledgeable family law attorney is recommended when a spouse has difficulty understanding court papers or one or both spouses have an IRS qualified retirement plan, pension plan, or owns buildings, land, or a business. If one spouse has a lawyer or refuses to sign the divorce agreement, the other spouse should retain an attorney to proceed as a contested divorce or to assist in mediating the conflicts that may exist.
To divorce by agreement, the couple must complete paperwork required by the state and file the paperwork (normally a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, and a Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage) with the office of the county court clerk. A filing fee must be submitted with the paperwork or a request to postpone or waive the fee payment must be made. It can take up to 60 days to receive a response from the court and schedule a final divorce hearing. However, with a family law attorney on the case, your agreed divorce can be completed in as little as two-weeks in some areas of the country like Chicago, Illinois.
Divorcing by Agreement: Who Can Help?
While a lawyer is not always 100% necessary when divorcing by agreement, it is a smart decision to speak with someone to make sure you have your t’s crossed and your i’s dotted. A divorce lawyer can make sure you understand the legal requirements for getting and can help you prepare and file the necessary legal documents (which vary from county to county and state to state).
A divorce lawyer can also help you negotiate and write a fair Marital Settlement Agreement that deals with all of the issues related to your split. This would obviously include the division of property, debts, and assets, and all matters related to child custody and support, and any other matters that need to be addressed.
Besides using a divorce lawyer, many other professionals can help people obtain a divorce by agreement. And many of these other professional s are used by divorce lawyers to help make the process run smoothly and efficiently.
Other Professionals Can Help
- Mediator: A divorce mediator is essentially a neutral 3rd party who works to facilitate healthy communication between the divorcing couple during negotiations. A mediator will help you and your spouse come to an agreement on all of the terms of your divorce. Keep in mind that mediators do not make decisions for you, they help you work constructively with your spouse to find common ground.
- Arbitrator: An arbitrator is a neutral 3rd party who can actually make decisions about things in your divorce based on the specific evidence that is presented to them. In arbitration. Arbitrators are sometimes used to resolve disagreements that cannot be resolved through mediation. The arbitration process is much more formal than mediation, but significantly less formal than a divorce trial.
- Counselor or licensed therapist: A counselor or a therapist can work wonders during a divorce. Therapists can provide support and guidance during the process and can help both spouses work through any issues that may be stopping the other from coming to an agreement.
Divorcing by agreement is absolutely possible and happens in roughly 20% of all divorce cases. Eventually, unless a case goes to trial, the parties will need to come to some sort of agreement. Typically, lawyers help to get this accomplished and even utilize other professionals like mediators or therapists. Contested divorces can cost thousands of dollars and take years while an uncontested divorce can be completed in some areas in less than 2-weeks (and cost a lot less money. Save time, money, and heartache and get an agreed divorce by starting out with a free consultation today.