About 40% of all American first marriages end in divorce. That rate jumps to 60% for second marriages and only 27% of third marriages survive. If you are considering a divorce, those statistics may not make you feel better but you should know that yours is not the first (nor is it the last) marriage to end this way. If you are lucky, you may be able to save yourself a lot of stress and money by filing for an uncontested divorce or do it yourself (DIY) divorce.
- Determine if you are a good candidate. If you and your spouse have the same ideas about the state of your marriage and can be civil to each other, you may be a good candidate for this kind of divorce. If you can work out arrangements for your children, if you have children, your assets and debts and all other issues, consider filing an uncontested divorce.
- How much time do you have? Even if you do not expect any problems from your spouse, you should still do some legal research into the laws of your state. You will need to get the correct documentation, know when and where to file the paperwork and make all court appearances. This can take a bunch of your time and if you do not think your schedule will allow you to devote the needed time, you should consult a divorce attorney.
- Mediation might help. Divorce mediation can be very helpful. You may find that you agree with your spouse on most of the issues in your divorce but then there’s visitation or custody. Do not think you cannot file a DIY divorce if you have any conflicts. If you have conflicts, this may be your best bet. You can take advantage of mediation services. They can work with you to solve any existing problems between you and your spouse. For instance, mediation for child custody is very common.
- Talk to the County Clerk’s office. That should be your first step in filing your DIY uncontested divorce. They can be a really valuable resource. They are not qualified to offer any kind of legal advice but they can point you in the right direction. They can let you know where to get uncontested divorce papers and help you understand the divorce process. They can also help you find the right divorce lawyer and tax accountant to help with those issues.
- Remember to factor in the tax implications. Even an uncontested divorce will impact how you file your taxes. You can get a lot of information (for free) from the Internal Revenue Service. You should talk to an accountant about how your uncontested divorce will impact your tax liability before you file or sign anything.
- Professional legal document services companies. You may be able to find a company, in person or online who can prepare your documents for you. If you are worried about their reputation, check for online reviews and with the Better Business Bureau. They may be able to help you save time and money by completing the forms for you. The costs for these services can range from $150 to $700, depending on the service and where you are located. If you are considering using one of these services for your uncontested divorce, just do your due diligence. This is all too important to get wrong and you will pay a lot more if you have to do it more than once.
- Talk to some lawyers. Most family divorce lawyers will give you a free consultation. This is customary for all kinds of law. Often people do talk to more than one lawyer before setting on one. You should go in and ask about the uncontested divorce process and see if they think that option is right for you and your situation.
- Remember: if there is anger or other real animosity between you and your spouse, you should not consider an uncontested divorce. You still need to protect you interests and, if applicable, your children?s well being.
If you are considering ending your marriage, you may not feel even a little bit lucky filing an uncontested divorce but you are. It will be easier for you and your family.