An uncontested divorce is a divorce proceeding in which the parties agree on how to resolve all issues. Instead of having a trial before a judge, the parties sign a written agreement. In Minnesota, this agreement is called a “Marital Termination Agreement.” Sometimes parties can reach an agreement right away. Sometimes parties may start out with a significant disagreement about one or more disputed issues, and these issues are resolved during the negotiation process.
Disputed issues can include child custody, child parenting time, the amount of child support that is paid, whether spousal maintenance (alimony) is paid to a spouse, which spouse gets the house, which spouse pays the debt, how the retirement assets should be divided, and there are many others.
It is important to realize that just because there are disputed issues at the beginning of the divorce process, this does not mean that eventually there will be a trial before a judge. There are several ways of resolving disputes and reaching a fair agreement, including negotiations between the attorneys, mediation with a neutral third party, valuations by a neutral expert, and recommendations by a qualified neutral.
As a Minnesota divorce attorney who has been practicing for more than 17 years, my experience is that even in a situation where parties have an agreement, it is helpful to have a skilled attorney involved. An attorney is usually aware of issues that an unrepresented party is not. More importantly, an attorney can negotiate more effectively for a person than that person can for himself or herself.
In future blog entrys, I am going to discuss contested divorces and uncontested divorces at greater length. In the meantime, you should feel free to call me or e-mail me with questions or concerns. You can call me at (952) 270-7700 and you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.