What is an Uncontested Divorce?
An uncontested divorce in Florida simply means that both parties wish to be unmarried, and that they agree on the division of property, alimony, child support and parenting plans if applicable in their case. The parties in an uncontested divorce must be willing to sign all of the documents and further, agree that they do not wish to have their case litigated in court. But, does this mean spouses who wish to seek an uncontested divorce can or should opt for a “do-it-yourself” divorce? The answer is yes they can, but likely should not. We have listed some common reasons why DIY divorces are not recommended in uncontested divorces, based on our 25 years practicing family law in Tampa Bay.
- Cost – The cost of a DIY divorce may seem less costly at first, however, experience has proven that the cost of being on the wrong end of your DIY divorce can be devastating. Modifying any aspect of your divorce can be much more expensive than ensuring that your terms are beneficial and binding.
- Time – It may appear to be simple to obtain an uncontested divorce without the help of a lawyer, but part of the process is understanding the process. Many divorcing couples get stuck after the paperwork is completed and find themselves still married because they didn’t know how to schedule hearings to finalize their divorce.
- Post Judgement Modifications – We cannot stress the importance of making sure that every aspect of your divorce is settled properly. This is particularly true when alimony, child support the division of property and parenting plans apply. Additionally, the everything else part of your divorce is something many couples do not consider, such as tax exemptions, life insurance policies and other matters such as parental relocation with a minor child.
Keeping Divorce Amicable
Hiring an attorney who is experienced in negotiating marital settlement agreements can make your uncontested divorce process less stressful than a DIY process. Negotiating terms on your behalf and in the best interest of your family can help to ensure that you remain amicable with your ex, long after the process is completed and your divorce is final.
MSA’s or a Collaborative Divorce
Many couples who are considering filing their own uncontested divorce papers ask whether it’s best to opt for an MSA or collaborative divorce process. There are differences in each approach as well as the cost. Additionally, if for some reason, your divorce fails in the collaborative process, each party will have to find another attorney to represent them to begin the typical divorce process. This could equate to more expense, time and perhaps more conflict. Nilo J Sanchez & Associates can explain those differences in detail and make recommendations based on your unique case.
For a consultation to discuss uncontested divorces, MSA’s versus collaborative divorce, please call our office at 813-879-4600 or message us to request a consultation with a divorce attorney.
MSA’s (Marital Settlement Agreements)
In uncontested divorces, marital settlement agreements are a wonderful alternative to going it alone. Through negotiations and mediation the matters below will be addressed focusing on your best interests. Couples who wish to seek an uncontested divorce and avoid litigation can opt to settle their divorce with an MSA while not forgoing the protection that a Tampa divorce attorney can provide and limits that a collaborative approach has. Divorce litigation will only arise if one or the other party fails to negotiate the terms in part or in whole for matters such as;
- The division of assets and debts
- Child custody
- Child support
- Parenting plans
- Life Insurance Policies/Pensions/QDRO
- Other matters pertained to your divorce that may or may not be mandated by the Florida Statutes
After the MSA is finalized and signed by both parties in a divorce, an agreement will be filed with the courts and a hearing will be scheduled to finalize your divorce.
Hiring Nilo J Sanchez & Associates in Uncontested or Contested Divorces
Tampa divorce lawyer, Nilo J Sanchez has been representing divorcing couples in Pinellas, Pasco and Hillsborough County for over 25 years. Whether your divorce is uncontested or contested, high conflict or considered a high asset divorce, our professional Tampa Bay divorce attorneys work closely with our clients to ensure that their rights are protected. Attorney Sanchez & Associates believes that divorcing couples who are fully informed of the choices they wish to make in their divorce process are more apt to be content and able to comply with the terms of their final judgement.
If you and your spouse wish to cooperate in an uncontested divorce, a marital settlement agreement negotiated by an experienced Tampa Divorce Lawyer can be very beneficial. Remember, with an MSA, there is no contract or binding agreement that states you agree not to litigate. With an MSA, either spouse may at any time during the process choose to go to court if negotiations fail. Most importantly, unlike with Tampa collaborative divorce attorneys, you may continue to retain Nilo J. Sanchez as your attorney.
Nilo J. Sanchez & Associates represents clients who need a family law or divorce attorney in Pinellas, Pasco & Hillsborough County, Florida. If you need a family law lawyer in Lutz, Brandon, Clearwater, St. Petersburg or in San Antonio or Wesley Chapel, please call us for a consultation.