An uncontested divorce is a process in which both parties agree on the terms of the divorce and file the necessary paperwork without going to court. While an uncontested divorce in Alabama can be a simpler and less stressful option, it’s important to avoid some common mistakes that can lead to complications and even a contested divorce. Here are some common mistakes to avoid in your Morgan County uncontested divorce process.
Not Hiring an Attorney
Even though an uncontested divorce is a simpler process than a contested divorce in Birmingham, it’s still important to have an attorney on your side. An attorney can help you understand the legal process, draft the necessary documents, and ensure that everything is filed correctly. A lawyer can also help you avoid mistakes that can lead to a contested divorce.
Not Disclosing All Assets and Debts
Of all the things you could do to hurt your divorce case in court, being dishonest is the biggest. If you lie while under oath, attempt to hide marital assets, or are otherwise dishonest, the judge will not look favorably upon you. It will cause you to lose ground in your divorce case, and it could change the outcome of decisions that have already been made regarding property division and child custody. Always be honest when filling out official court documents, when testifying, and in disclosing all assets and debts.
Rushing the Process
Regardless of whether you are the spouse who initiated the divorce action or you are the spouse who is defending against the action, do not rush the process and make or accept a one sided settlement agreement. This applies especially if you are the spouse who may be negatively affected by the agreement later on. Although you may be tempted to end the process quickly by signing the first agreement you are presented with, it is very difficult to undo an agreement that was entered into voluntarily.
Failing to Consider Future Changes
The transition from a two income household to a one income household is difficult. It is therefore important to plan for this reality and not do anything that will make this transition more difficult. You should make a financial plan to prepare for your new financial situation. You should also refrain from creating any new debts. Also, do not assume that debts from your marriage are paid. If you and your spouse jointly accumulated debts, ensure that your settlement agreement sets out who is responsible for paying back that debt and remove your name from any liabilities that are not your responsibility.
Failing to Address Tax Implications
With any agreement that concerns the division of money and assets, it is important to consider the tax implications. Tax consequences should be especially considered if the settlement calls for the division of retirement or pension plans. If you fail to take these considerations into account, you may be stuck with spousal support payments or a property division that is significantly devalued.
Not Addressing Child Support and Custody Issues
Many divorcing couples who think they can handle the cheap divorce on their own are thrown off course by the issue of child support. Child support is calculated by state law and is often based on each parent’s income and time spent with the children, in addition to several other factors.
The purpose of child support is to ensure that children have the same financial support whether their parents are together or separated. Some parents think they can agree to a lower amount of child support, but family court typically doesn’t allow this. Don’t make the mistake of entering your own amount for child support in the divorce decree only to have the judge reject your divorce.
Another common mistake is not having a settlement agreement in place prior to filing. A settlement agreement should include details about how assets will be divided and any other issues that need to be addressed during the divorce process. Without this agreement, it may be difficult or impossible to reach an amicable resolution between both parties.
It is also important to ensure that all paperwork is filed correctly and on time. All necessary forms must be completed accurately and submitted with appropriate fees to your county court before your case can proceed. Failing to do so could result in delays or even dismissal of your case if it is not properly handled within the allotted time frame.
Finally, it is important to remember that an easy divorce does not necessarily mean that you will have no contact with your former spouse after the proceedings are complete. Depending on your circumstances, you may need to continue communicating with them regarding matters such as child support or visitation rights after your divorce has been finalized.
By taking these steps and avoiding common mistakes when filing for a divorce in Tuscaloosa, or anywhere else in Alabama, you can help ensure a smoother process and better outcome for both parties involved.
Attorney Steven A. Harris regularly blogs in the areas of family law, bankruptcy, probate, and real estate closings on this website. Mr. Harris tries to provide informative information to the public in easily digestible formats. Hopefully you enjoyed this article and feel free to supply feedback. We appreciate our readers & love to hear from you!