Arons & Solomon | February 16, 2016 | Articles
Divorce Basics: Reaching an agreement is the key to an “Uncontested” Divorce
Divorce is often a complicated matter, involving heightened emotions and many decisions that will affect the future of both spouses, their children, each party’s financial situation, and much more. In the rare instance, parties agree on everything. Before even filing for divorce, those lucky folks may draft their own agreement or have an agreement drawn up by an attorney. Once there is a signed agreement, one of the parties will file a complaint for divorce and advise the court that there is a signed agreement. The matter is officially “uncontested” and a date is assigned by the Court to make the divorce official.
But what of the persons not so fortunate who are unable to reach an agreement before filing a complaint for divorce? Their recourse is to file a complaint for divorce and then attempt to get an agreement that both sides will sign. That will involve appearing in Court (either with counsel or “pro se” if they choose to represent themselves) for Case Management Conferences, Early Settlement Panel, Intensive Settlement Conference, and ultimately, trial.
Mixed in with court appearances, there may be four-way conferences with the parties and counsel, parenting/custody mediation and financial mediation, all with the goal of arriving at an agreement. And there will be “discovery” in which both sides makes requests of the other party for financial or other information in order to determine the parties’ assets, debts and incomes for purposes of determining child support, alimony and equitable distribution of the assets and debts or for custody.
Along the way, and sometimes not until the parties are literally “on the courthouse steps” the day of trial, the parties often agree to settle their differences. Each party is likely giving up something, but they have agreed to compromise to save time, money and stress, and to control the resolution of their issues. An agreement setting forth all of the terms of the compromise is drafted by counsel and when all accept its contents, the parties sign the agreement. The matter is now officially “uncontested.”
You have avoided a trial–having a judge hear testimony and review evidence to rule on the issues which you and your spouse were unable to agree upon. And the result is likely to be more palatable since you will have had a hand in the resolution of your matter. After all, you know more about the facts of your case than a judge ever will, and you have the ability in an agreement to devise solutions to your particular issues that the law does not permit a judge to order.
Hire a New Jersey Family Law Attorney Who Will Work Tirelessly to Ensure Your Rights Are Protected
Obviously, coming to an agreement and putting through the divorce as an “uncontested” matter reduces the cost and stress associated with having a trial, or “litigating.” Legal counsel can prepare and review your Settlement Agreement to be sure it is fair and enforceable, while also advising how the Settlement Agreement will impact you and your spouse.
Counsel can also advise you of options available to reach an agreement so that a matter can proceed as “uncontested,” some of which may not be available to a judge rendering a ruling after a trial. These options include collaborative divorce, mediation, and arbitration.
The family law attorneys at Arons & Solomon have extensive experience to guide you toward the best option for your particular facts and circumstances. Call us today at 201.487.1199 or click to learn more about how we can help you.