When spouses agree on how their marriage should end, they have the option of obtaining an uncontested divorce. However, there are still some critical steps that have to be taken so the divorce can be finalized. Having a knowledgeable New Mexico uncontested divorce attorney can help.
At Matteucci Family Law, Attorney Bob Matteucci’s focus is on devising solutions that are customized for the needs of each individual client. He can discuss whether an uncontested divorce is right for your situation, and then work to obtain it.
When is a divorce uncontested?
In an uncontested divorce, the spouses have come to a complete agreement on the major issues arising out of their marriage. They can take care of the divorce paperwork on their own, but having an attorney is beneficial. An attorney can handle certain complexities, such as drafting legal documents to make sure they are comprehensive and in line with the law. This can help prevent the parties from unwittingly creating more problems for themselves. At the end of the day, however, it’s up to the spouses to come to an agreement.
Before you and your spouse can consider an uncontested divorce, you have to make sure you cover everything related to your marriage. That means taking a look at:
- Asset and debt division. This includes things such as the marital residence, any vacation properties, vehicles and boats, bank accounts, retirement accounts, and more. Essentially, anything the two of you owned which is marital, along with all debts and liabilities (e.g. credit card accounts).
- Alimony (spousal support). Some spouses agree to forego alimony so they can get the divorce done, while others insist upon it. Either way, you and your spouse need to determine how much alimony will be paid and for how long.
- Child custody and visitation. There is both legal custody (the right to make major decisions affecting the child, like those involving education) and physical custody (which parent the child will primarily live with), along with visitation. The spouses also have to decide how to share custody during major holidays, vacations, and the child’s and parents’ birthdays.
- Child support. An attorney can help you calculate child support according to state worksheets and guidelines. Sometimes parents choose to pay more than the worksheets require or include extra expenses not contemplated by the guidelines.
In other words, the uncontested divorce has to be comprehensive. If you haven’t already talked about custody, for example, you and your spouse must do so.
What is the role of an attorney?
The attorney in an uncontested divorce will explain how the law works and help prepare the necessary paperwork to complete the divorce. Your lawyer can also discuss topics you might not have considered, such as tax consequences of decisions regarding property, and make sure the divorce documents reflect how you want to handle them. Finally, your attorney can file the paperwork with the court and answer any questions you have.
Your attorney’s goal should be to try to negotiate and settle your divorce with the other lawyer or party. Most divorce cases in New Mexico are resolved out of court, with uncontested divorce being a great option where the parties already know what they want to do.
What are the benefits of an uncontested divorce?
Once you and your spouse have agreed on everything, you’re ready to talk about an uncontested divorce. The benefits of this approach are many and include:
- Less time, anxiety, and stress
- The ability of you and your spouse to control the outcome
- Fewer expenses compared to cases that end up in court
- Easier on your children
- Less emotional than a contested divorce
- Not having to appear in court
When does an uncontested divorce become a contested divorce?
A contested divorce can be thought of as a “traditional” divorce where the parties can’t agree on how to handle the major issues in their marriage. Both sides may have an attorney, but after exhaustive negotiation they can’t arrive at a solution. Although many divorces do end up in court, they don’t necessarily have to. If you and your spouse cannot see eye-to-eye and work out an uncontested divorce, you may be able to resolve the matter by participating in what is known as settlement facilitation.
In a settlement facilitation, a neutral third party – usually a retired judge or an experienced New Mexico family law attorney – will work with the parties and their lawyers to negotiate a settlement. The facilitator doesn’t decide the issues for the spouses, but instead helps the spouses discuss them. The settlement facilitation may be a half day or a full day depending on the issues involved.
Both spouses will be in a separate room with their attorney throughout the process. The facilitator will go from one room to the other to talk with both sides and understand the issues. Then, the facilitator will get to work negotiating a settlement. Settlement facilitation is an effective way of working out the divorce and ending the marriage.
Contact a New Mexico Uncontested Divorce Attorney Today
Whether you and your spouse have agreed to an uncontested divorce, or there are disagreements that have turned it into a contested divorce, Matteucci Family Law can help. Our law firm works with both types of divorce clients to make sure they have their questions answered and can move forward with confidence. Bob Matteucci also serves as a settlement facilitator to try to negotiate a positive outcome to the divorce. The most important thing you should know is that uncontested divorce is one of several options you have. Contact us today to learn more and to schedule your confidential consultation.
Matteucci Family Law Firm helps families with uncontested divorce matters all across New Mexico including Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Los Lunas, and Rio Rancho.