It is tempting to seek an uncontested divorce. They are relatively inexpensive, and can be accomplished in a small fraction of the time needed for a full-blown divorce contest. However, uncontested means that you and your spouse have come to broad agreement on all the important subjects: Child custody, child support, alimony, division of real and personal property, and division of debts. It also means you will easily be able to agree on the details, like who gets the chafing dish, the wedding silverware, the kids photos, and the family pets. A good attorney will help you identify these details that need agreement in your situation, but will expect you to then be able to agree without the need for substantial intervention by the attorney.
Who is going to be the client?
Once you believe it is to be an uncontested divorce, you go about choosing an attorney to help you. One of the first choices is who will be the client. Most attorneys will not represent both parties to a divorce. In many states they cannot. Decide which of you is to hire the attorney, and how you will pay for it.
Choose an attorney.
Don't choose solely based on price! You often get what you pay for, and the cheapest is not always a good idea. Choose an attorney who focuses on family law, and who knows how to move an uncontested case efficiently through the system. Make sure the attorney is a person you can speak to, and who has a staff that is helpful.
Prepare to meet the attorney.
Even though only one of you will be the client, you can often both go meet the attorney. You should prepare at least an outline of the agreement as you would like it to be. The attorney may need to advise you as to whether your agreement will work under the law, and may need to ask you to consider other points of agreement. Nevertheless, its a good idea to come with some agreement as to the major issues. (See Step 1) Also, be sure to ask what documents and information you should bring with you to meet the attorney.
Do your homework.
The attorney will likely ask you to get some additional information, fill out some forms, or do some other homework after your meeting. You may need to work with your spouse to agree on some more issues that the attorney has identified. Get that done quickly so that your case stays on track, and doesn't fall into one.
Follow up with the attorney.
Make sure you understand the timeframe in which things should happen. If you don't hear anything, follow up with the attorney. Divorce lawyers practices have regular interruptions by courts, and clients needing their attention for urgent situations. While the lawyer is responsible for making sure your case moves along, it is never wrong to follow up when the promised time has passed, if only for a gentle reminder.
Read the settlement / ask questions.
This document will govern the relationship with your ex-spouse for the rest of your lives. Read it. Understand it. If you don't understand it, ask the lawyer to explain it. Make absolutely sure it describes what you have agreed that you want to happen. It can be expensive and difficult to change some aspects of a divorce settlement, so it cannot be overstated how important it is for you to ensure the documents are proper.
Get on with your life.
But don't make any big decisions in the first year after getting divorced. Take the time to evaluate your life, your direction, and who you are outside the marriage. Don't dwell on what might have been, or whether you should have done something different in the divorce. That's over, and its time to live your life to the fullest.
Our Rating is calculated using information the lawyer has included on their profile in addition to the information we collect from state bar associations and other organizations that license legal professionals. Attorneys who claim their profiles and provide Avvo with more information tend to have a higher rating than those who do not.
What determines Avvo Rating?
Experience & background
Years licensed, work experience, education
Legal community recognition
Peer endorsements, associations, awards
Legal thought leadership
Publications, speaking engagements
This lawyer was disciplined by a state licensing authority in .
Disciplinary information may not be comprehensive, or updated. We recommend that you always check a lawyer's disciplinary status with their respective state bar association before hiring them.