This is the third post in my series on handling an uncontested or stipulated divorce in Melbourne, Florida. My last article discussed how to determine if you are eligible to pursue an uncontested divorce. I provided information on the need to be in complete agreeance on all issues associated with the case. I also outlined Florida’s residency requirements for an uncontested or stipulated divorce. In this article, I will discuss why one should not focus on an easy fix and why it is important to understand consequences of this type of action. If you require assistance, then contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.
Filing for an uncontested divorce is a much simpler process than obtaining a contested Melbourne divorce
Similar to contested divorces, uncontested actions do not consider “fault” as a basis for ending a marriage. Spouses may simply state that their marital relationship is “irretrievably broken.” For those that agree on all of the issues associated with a divorce action, the first step will be to have their attorney file a Petition for Simplified Dissolution of Marriage, which is a short formal document. The parties will also draft a marital settlement agreement outlining how all property will be distributed, whether spousal support will be paid, how debts will be handled, and how all issues relating to child custody and support will be addressed. Once a court date is scheduled, the parties will appear before the Judge. Provided that no issues have become contested, the case will be concluded. This differs from the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage filed in a contested action. That document requires a response from the other party as well as a mediation and if necessary, a trial. Needless to say, the process for a contested divorce is much longer and more involved. Because the uncontested action is a simpler process, it is often attractive to many Melbourne spouses. The emotional and psychological stress involved with ending a marriage often leads one to rush the process before considering the consequences.
Melbourne residents should be aware of the permanence of a decision made in an uncontested divorce
One of the main issues related to uncontested divorces is the possibility that a decision made in haste could have a permanent effect. For example, suppose two spouses come to an agreement on every issue associated with the action. However, one of the issues involves non-modifiable spousal support. If the party paying the support later loses employment or for some reason can no longer pay alimony, he or she would still be liable for the support. In that case, such a decision would have a long-lasting and potentially disastrous effect. Another example would be an agreement on child custody. Perhaps the spouses have agreed on a specific pick-up/drop-off day and time for the children. If something were to change in the future, both parties may be stuck with abiding by terms that are now inconvenient. Simply put, these examples could apply to any issue agreed upon during the uncontested process. It is important that one is aware of the permanence of their decision. Retaining an attorney before deciding on an uncontested action is crucial to ensuring that an “easy fix” doesn’t become an irreversible nightmare.
Contact my Melbourne office today to speak with a lawyer. My office services clients in the cities of Titusville, Cocoa, Palm Bay, Grant, Valkaria, and Rockledge, as well as in the Indian River County areas of Fellsmere, Sebastian, Vero Beach, Indian River Shores, and Orchid.