5 Essential Steps for a Smooth and Cost-Effective Uncontested Divorce

By Bob Matteucci

Divorce is a challenging process, but it doesn’t always have to be contentious and costly. If you and your former partner are on the same page about the big issues that must be addressed before you split up — who gets the house, how retirement accounts will be divided, time with kids, etc. — you can file for an uncontested divorce.

Attorney Bob Matteucci works with couples from across the state of New Mexico who want to take this path. During his years in practice, he has identified five steps you can take to help smooth your divorce process and make sure it stays uncontested. 

1. Uncontested vs. Contested is All About Your Attitude 

This may come as a shock, but there is actually nothing in New Mexico’s state laws about the difference between uncontested and contested divorces. To the court system, a divorce is just a divorce. 

What makes a divorce uncontested is you and your partner’s attitude toward your divorce. If you are both looking to the future and ready to figure out what comes next instead of dwelling on the past, there is no need to fight with one another. 

2. Identify Your End Goals 

In order to avoid looking back, it is important to have a sense of what is most important to you, and what you want your life to look like post-divorce. Are you moving? Do you plan on retiring soon? Do you have small children you are focused on co-parenting? 

Reverse engineering your divorce so it is a stepping stone to the goals you have identified can keep you focused and moving forward. 

3. Open Up the Lines of Communication 

The foundation of an uncontested divorce lies in open communication and agreement between spouses. Before you file any paperwork with the courts, you are going to have to sit down with your former partner and discuss the key issues such as division of assets, child custody, alimony, and any other relevant matters. Whether you do this on your own, or with the assistance of an attorney or other professionals is up to you. 

4. Pick the Type of Divorce that is Right for You

As was mentioned above, uncontested is an attitude, not a type of divorce. There are several different paths you and your spouse can take to get the legal paperwork that will formalize your divorce in order:

  • Self-Help Divorce – If you have only been married a short amount of time, you don’t have any children or significant assets or debts, and you agree with your soon-to-be-former partner on all aspects of your separation, you can use the New Mexico court system’s self-help forms to divorce without the assistance of an attorney. 
  • Traditional Divorce The majority of divorces filed by people in the Albuquerque area are traditional divorces. One party files for divorce, and serves the other with divorce papers, and each spouse hires an attorney to represent their interests. The attorneys will negotiate the terms of the divorce, and draft all the documents that need to be filed with the court — like a marital settlement agreement, parenting plan, and petition for dissolution. Sometimes it is also necessary to hire a third party settlement facilitator to smooth the negotiation process. The vast majority of couples reach an amicable agreement and do not litigate their divorce in open court. 
  • Mediated Divorce Mediation is the preferred choice of couples who generally agree on the terms of their divorce but need assistance resolving a few high-stakes conflicts or fairly dividing complex assets. The mediator, a neutral third party, works towards steering both sides to a mutually acceptable resolution, and drafts all the paperwork necessary to formalize the divorce. 
  • Collaborative DivorceCouples in the Albuquerque area who still trust and respect one another, but no longer want to be married to each other, are increasingly opting for collaborative divorces. Attorney Bob Matteucci is one of a handful of lawyers in New Mexico who are certified to guide couples through this process, which relies on the assistance of professionals like financial planners and counselors.

Figuring out which type of divorce will work well for you and your partner can help you keep things uncontested. 

5. Complete All the Required Documentation

This should go without saying, but the final step you must take to ensure your divorce is uncontested is filling out and filing all the required paperwork. Errors can lead to delays and additional expenses, but they can also cause tempers to flare. Most couples choose to work with an attorney (or two different attorneys) to ensure that all the information provided is accurate and complete, and the paperwork is properly filed with the courts. 

Serving New Mexico Families with Dignity & Compassion 

If you and your former partner are interested in filing for an uncontested divorce, Matteucci Family Law can help. Attorney Bob Matteucci works with couples from across the state of New Mexico who are ready to amicably separate and move forward with their lives.
He will work hard to ensure your divorce goes as smoothly as possible — answering your questions, guiding you through difficult discussions, and making sure your paperwork is all in order. Please contact him today to learn more and to schedule a confidential consultation.

About the Author
Bob Matteucci is a board certified family law specialist, with a statewide practice in the area of divorce and family law.