Uncontested Divorce in New York
Filing an uncontested divorce, while generally less expensive than a divorce in which parties litigate any myriad of issues, still has its pitfalls. Like with most legal proceedings, I recommend consulting with an attorney experienced in handling these matters. Contact me at Alatsaslawfirm.com.
Know your rights.Before you do anything, you should consult a matrimonial lawyer to discuss your rights and obligations should you get divorced. Only after knowing what you might be able to achieve through a contested divorce, can you truly be able to determine whether an uncontested divorce is best for you. Often times, litigants are enticed by the lower upfront costs of an uncontested divorce, only to surrender something far more valuable. As an example, I had one mother of a 5 year old child, insisting on an uncontested divorce, because it would have cost her $1,500.00, but, in order to have her husband agree, he was insisting on paying her child support at a rate $250.00 per month less than the statutory guidelines amount. A contested divorce would likely have cost about $5,000.00 in this case. Had she insisted on the uncontested divorce, her $3,500.00 in "savings" would have cost her $48,000.00 in child support, or two years' worth of college for that child. Know your rights!
Communicate with your spouseGenerally, an uncontested divorce is most likely to be available when the parties have reached the decision to dissolve the marriage after mutual discussion, or after a prolonged absence. In either scenario, communication is key. You should discuss the issues that are important to each of you and, when you have done so, make a list of what the two of you can agree on. This is usually easier to do when there are few issues to fight over. That generally means - no house, no alimony, no child support, etc. Sometimes, even when there are a few issues, the solutions are relatively easy to resolve.
Collect relevant documentsWhen you are ready to proceed, you will need social security numbers of all the parties, including all the children, if any; dates of birth of all parties, including all the children, if any; date of marriage, pension information, if any, mortgage statement, if any, bank account information, and any other relevant documents relating to any agreement you may have already reached with your spouse.
Call a lawyer!An uncontested divorce can be a low cost alternative in matters in which the parties' assets, income and issues are limited, and where the parties can reasonably collaborate to dissolve their marriage amicably. However, simply because it is a "low cost" alternative, does not make it preferable. Always consult an experienced matrimonial attorney prior to commencing any divorce matter.