Stephen J. Buhler, Attorney at Law

Uncontested Divorce

Everybody getting divorced hopes that it will be uncontested.  The lucky ones get it that way.  But everyone should know that uncontested does not necessarily mean uncomplicated.  In Utah uncontested divorces require no less than eight documents (a divorce without children) and as many as eighteen documents (a divorce with children) all prepared and submitted correctly.

While it is true that you are not required to have a lawyer for your uncontested divorce, it is also true that you are not required to have a lawyer for your personal injury case or your murder trial.  People still hire lawyers for uncontested divorces because you only get to do it once and it is worth doing right.

Of course, attorney fees for uncontested divorces are much less than for contested divorces. Many people are happy to pay someone who knows what he is doing and can process the case better and faster, without making serious errors that may or may not be correctable, than trying to learn how to do it and doing it themselves.  About half of the divorces I do are uncontested from the outset.

The term "uncontested divorce" usually means one that has already been negotiated.  Few divorces are uncontested without some discussion and give and take.

That both parties want a divorce does not mean it is uncontested.  They may agree to end the marriage, but will fight over the terms.

Given that so few divorce cases actually go to a trial before a judge, where evidence is presented and witnesses are called - and the judge, rather than the parties, decides how they will live the rest of their lives - most cases, even if they start of hotly contested, get settled along the way.

One of the benefits of hiring skilled legal counsel is the experience of having handled, and settled, hundreds of cases.  Another benefit is that of being able to advise on what is worth fighting for and taking to court as opposed to settling and getting on with your life.

The biggest factor in any divorce case are the personalities involved.  Some people will fight forever over the littlest things, while others, with very complicated child-rearing and financial issues, are able to settle them with relative ease.

Experience shows that, whatever the outcome, the conclusion of the divorce case is a huge relief and most people have a great sense of freedom and accomplishment that comes with the ability to now plan the future and get on with life.  Good legal counsel will help that day come sooner rather than later, whether or not you think your divorce is "uncontested."



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