Couples who can get an uncontested divorce can often save themselves time, money, and stress. An uncontested divorce allows you to avoid court dates and the lengthy process of litigation. You can also keep your divorce more private. Getting an attorney for an uncontested divorce is not required. However, legal advice and counsel can significantly improve the process. A Topeka divorce attorney can help you negotiate aspects of the divorce agreement and ensure that your rights and interests are protected. They can also help you avoid legal pitfalls or issues that a judge may have with the agreement.
Understanding Uncontested Divorces
An uncontested divorce occurs when a couple agrees that they should get a divorce and can mostly agree on important aspects of a divorce. This includes division of property, spousal maintenance, child custody and visitation, and child support. Although couples may have minor disagreements, an uncontested divorce means that effective mediation can allow the couple to negotiate these issues with minimal conflict.
An attorney can help mediate between spouses, or each spouse can be represented by an attorney during negotiation. There are several benefits to having an attorney help you with your uncontested divorce.
- Legal Deadlines and Accurate Paperwork
A divorce attorney has extensive experience with the legal requirements and filing deadlines in a divorce. An attorney knows what forms are needed and how to properly fill them out. By working with an attorney, you can limit mistakes in your filing paperwork that may lengthen the divorce process.
Missing legal deadlines can also lead to late fees or even render a divorce agreement invalid in extreme circumstances. Laws are changing constantly, and it can be hard for divorcing couples to keep track of important rules and deadlines. An attorney can handle that for you, limiting your stress and expediting the process.
- Manage Negotiations
Even when spouses are amicable enough for an uncontested divorce, that doesn’t mean the process is without disagreements. A divorce is an emotionally difficult time, and the issues in a divorce agreement can become contentious. An attorney can help you and your spouse mediate the discussion, negotiate reasonably, and determine when to step back.
Your divorce attorney has significant experience mediating between spouses and essential knowledge of the assets and wishes of both spouses. As a third party, they can help you find a compromise and an effective solution that the judge will likely approve.
- Protect Rights and Interests
A divorce agreement becomes a legally binding agreement when it’s approved by a judge. It must cover all assets, liabilities, and needs of each party while remaining in each party’s interest. An attorney can also inform you of potential tax implications or other pitfalls in a divorce agreement that you may not be looking for.
If your spouse isn’t looking out for your interests, you could agree to a divorce agreement that has unreasonable terms or harms you in the future. In other situations, one or both spouses miscalculate the terms of the agreement by accident. An experienced attorney can notice potential legal issues and complications before an agreement is finalized.
- Your Divorce Might Not Be Uncontested
Some couples begin the process of divorce through mediation, but find that certain aspects, or the entire divorce, must be handled in court. For example, if one spouse is being untruthful and trying to hide assets during an uncontested divorce, your divorce will likely enter litigation. An attorney can have an impartial view of your divorce and its circumstances. They can determine if it is possible to resolve the issues through mediation or if you should transition to a contested divorce.
- Address Complex Issues
Some essential aspects of a divorce may be complex, depending on your unique circumstances. One or both parties may have complex assets, such as business interests or real estate properties. This can create larger financial issues during property division. How or if spousal maintenance is assigned depends on several factors, and an attorney can help you understand those variables. They can also help you understand whether it is in your interests to waive your rights to spousal maintenance.
Q: Do I Need an Attorney for a Divorce in Kansas?
A: You are not required to have a divorce attorney in Kansas. However, an attorney can help protect your rights during the process, whether you are going through mediation or litigation. An attorney can help draft and file the correct forms, protect your interests during negotiation, advocate for you during hearings, and generally expedite the process of divorce.
Q: Who Pays Attorney Fees in a Divorce in Kansas?
A: Generally, both parties are responsible for their own attorney and court costs in a Kansas divorce. In some cases, the court may award a spouse attorney fees. The court will consider factors such as:
- Whether a spouse has the financial ability to pay for their attorney fees and their spouse’s
- If spouses have equal or unequal incomes
- If a spouse engaged in marital misconduct
- The circumstances of the divorce and court case
Q: How Long Does an Uncontested Divorce Take in Kansas?
A: There is a 60-day required waiting period between filing a divorce and a divorce being finalized. This means 60 days is the absolute minimum time a divorce in Kansas can take. This also assumes that both spouses can come to an agreement regarding potentially stressful topics like support, property division, and custody within that time. Depending on the complexity of these aspects, an uncontested divorce may take longer than 60 days. A divorce that is contested can take months or years to finalize.
Q: Does It Matter Who Files for Divorce First in Kansas?
A: The court does not give preferential treatment to or against the spouse who filed for divorce. No decisions for the division of property, support, or custody will be made based on who filed for divorce. However, there could be other benefits to being the spouse who files for divorce, such as choosing where to file and having extra time to prepare.
Contact Stange Law Firm
The experienced attorneys at Stange Law Firm can help represent you during your uncontested divorce mediation. Contact our team today.