Uncontested Divorce at Marks Law Firm
Here at Marks Law Firm, we believe that a divorce does not have to be a painful experience. When a couple is willing to communicate and compromise, an uncontested divorce can be a quick and easy option that can save you money. An uncontested divorce can actually strengthen relationships and build a great foundation for the future.
Contact us today at 515-276-7211 for a free consultation to get the process started!
Frequently Asked Questions:
Click on any questions you may have and you will be redirected to an answer. If your question is still unanswered, feel free to contact our office for more information at 515-276-7211 or Office@markslawdm.com.
What is an uncontested divorce?
An uncontested divorce is when a couple agrees on the six major parts of the divorce. These six parts include: the actual divorce, property distribution (assets and debts), child custody agreements, child support, child visitation, and spousal support (alimony). Oftentimes, only one attorney is hired for an uncontested divorce and the other party appears “pro se,” meaning that they do not have an attorney. There is nothing stopping both parties from from having their own attorney and sometimes this can be the best option depending on the case. Give our office a call at 515-276-7211 to see if an uncontested divorce is the right option for you.
What is considered in an uncontested divorce?
- Child Custody – Child Custody is one of the most highly contested matters in divorces. In an uncontested divorce, custody will be mutually agreed upon before filing. This includes where the child will live (physical custody) and what the legal rights of each parent will be (legal custody). There are all sorts of arrangements which the parties can agree upon. All we ask is that both parties keeps the best interests of the child/children in mind. When a child’s best interests are considered first and foremost, it allows for more creative solutions and opportunities that will benefit everyone involved.
- Visitation – Most times the court will ultimately award liberal visitation with the understanding that if the parents cannot agree to visitation schedule, the default schedule in the order will take control. Visitation is not as much about the parents as it is about the children. Something that parents regularly forget to account for is that kids grow up and have their own activities which constantly will get in the way of the default visitation order. If the parents work together, the kids will be able to enjoy their activities. We encourage the parents to keep an open mind when thinking about visitation.
- Child Support – Child support is based on a formula mandated by the State of Iowa. We will gather financial documents that the court will use to decide on child support.
- Child Support Worksheets – Ideally in an uncontested divorce, our office will file one worksheet explaining how the parties came to the mutually agreed upon child support arrangement.
- Spousal Support (Alimony) – Alimony is considered in cases where one party has a high income and the other has low or no income or are disabled. Not everyone receives alimony and for those who do, it can be lifelong or temporary to give the recipient time to adjust. Typically, alimony will no longer be required if the recipient remarries.
- Marital and Individual Property – In an uncontested divorce, the parties will come to an agreement on how to divide the martial assets. Marital assets can include real estate, cars, personal property, retirement accounts, etc. Almost anything acquired during the marriage is a marital asset.
- Debt Distribution – The court will look to make an equitable distribution of any marital debt. The equitable distribution of the debt will not necessarily be equal but rather will be fair considering both parties financial standing.
- Financial Filings – Each party will be required to provide financial documentation to show how the assets and debts will be divided. Our office will ensure that you are aware of any and all documents that the court requires.
What is the uncontested divorce process?
- Scheduling – Call or email our office to set up a time to come in and speak with one of our attorneys.
- Initial Appointment – You will meet with one of our attorneys to discuss the intricacies of your case and determine the best course of action.
- Data Collection – Our staff will reach out to collected necessary documents and data from you.
- Filing a Divorce Petition – Your divorce case starts with the filing of a Divorce Petition. In an uncontested divorce, most or all issues will be resolved by this point.
- Service of Non-Filing Spouse – The respondent (non-filing spouse) has 20 days to answer the petition. This should come as no surprise and should happen quickly in an uncontested divorce.
- Submitting Financial Documents to the Court – Our office will have already gathered the necessary financial documents and will submit them to the court on your behalf.
- Children in the middle course (only if children are involved) – Children in the Middle is a mandatory course that parents must take when getting a divorce. The course aims to give you all the information that you need to help ease the process for your children.
- 90-Day Waiting Period – Iowa law requires a 90-day waiting period for couples to reflect on their decision to get a divorce and determine if they would like to go through with it. At the end of the 90 days, we can either withdraw your petition for divorce or present the judge with a divorce decree.
- Divorce Decree – You will receive your divorce decree and be legally divorced.
How can an uncontested divorce save me money?
An uncontested divorce can save you money in multiple ways. First, when a divorce is uncontested and both parties agree to the terms, you only need to hire one attorney rather than two, cutting your legal fees in half. Second, uncontested divorces do not include mediation which can become costly when paying for their time, reaching an agreement, and drafting paperwork. The costs of the formal mediation process add up quickly and those costs can be avoided through an uncontested divorce. Finally, you can save money by ensuring that mistakes are not going to be made when going through an attorney. Oftentimes when people choose to do a divorce by themselves or through an online software, small mistakes can be made that could cost thousands of dollars to fix later on. To ensure that your case is handled properly, give us a call at 515-276-7211 and we are happy to talk you through the process!
Uncontested divorce FAQs
My spouse and I still disagree on some issues, will you take our case?
We are happy to sit down with you to discuss your concerns and determine if both parties can come to an agreement.
[If there are still contested issues that one or both parties would like to take to court, we will happily refer you to another attorney.]
Will you be representing both me and my spouse?
No. The ethical rules that govern lawyers say that we cannot represent both of you. This is to avoid potential conflicts of interest. Our office will only represent one party. We will happily work with both parties to determine the right options for your specific case and to decide who we will be representing. Oftentimes, one party will go unrepresented in an uncontested divorce, though sometimes it may be best for both parties to be represented depending on the case.
Can I get divorced more quickly with an uncontested divorce?
Generally, yes. Uncontested divorces go much quicker than contested divorces. An uncontested divorce will take anywhere from 90-120 days. A contested divorce can take anywhere from 9-12 months due to the need for additional paperwork and discovery, trial preparation and the court’s availability.
What are the benefits of an uncontested divorce?
There are many benefits to an uncontested divorce. For starters, consider the cost, time, control, and emotional toll. An uncontested divorce can help you save on expenses having to pay less fees due to less work needing to be done. You will save on time because you will not have to go through the necessary steps of a trial through the courts. You will have more control over your divorce because you will be mutually agreeing to the division of your assets and custody or visitation of your children. Most importantly, an uncontested divorce can save you and your family from the headaches and heartaches that often occur during a divorce trial.
What happens if we reconcile and no longer want to get divorced?
If you come to this decision before the judgement granting your divorce has been entered, we can submit the proper forms to dismiss the divorce. If you come to this decision after the judgment granting your divorce has been entered, then you are already legally divorced and will have to get remarried.
Will I have to go to court for my divorce?
Each divorce is unique but generally in an uncontested divorce you will never have to step foot in the courthouse. We actually enjoy going to court, it’s the parking that we hate!