On Long Island, an Uncontested Divorce is one in which there are no, or very few, unresolved issues between you and your spouse. What this means is that the two of you have worked out all, or almost all, of the points of contention of your divorce. You are mainly in agreement about issues such as equitable distribution, spousal maintenance, child support and child custody. There are a few different ways of achieving an Uncontested Divorce. Read on to help you determine which method is right for you and your family.
Divorce Mediation is a great option for spouses who wish to quickly and amicably resolve their divorce. Mediation is a process by which you both hire one neutral third-party to guide your discussions and help you reach a fair settlement. This kind of Divorce may only be utilized by parties who are able to effectively communicate and cooperate. Because your divorce mediator is a neutral third-party, he or she cannot make decisions for you or give either of you legal advice. You and your spouse need to be able to work through whatever outstanding points of contention you may have. Once you and your spouse have reached an agreement, your divorce mediator will draft a formal Stipulation of Settlement which you will review and sign. Your divorce mediator will then submit the Stipulation and all other required documentation to the court in the county in which you reside and the court will in turn grant a final Judgment of Divorce.
A Collaborative Divorce is a process by which both you and your spouse hire separate Collaborative Divorce Attorneys to represent your interests. Even though you both have your own attorneys, all parties involved sign an agreement that states, amongst other things, that no litigation will be commenced while you are engaged in the Collaborative Divorce process. Collaborative Divorces are perfect for couples who may not be able to effectively communicate with each other on all issues, but who want to make it through their divorce in an efficient and amicable manner. The presence of two separate attorneys representing you and your spouse ensure that your interests are protected. The agreement signed by all parties consenting to avoid Court intervention protects you and your spouse from attorneys who might attempt to convert your Uncontested Divorce into a Contested Divorce in an effort to drive up legal fees.
Truly Uncontested Divorces are typically charged at a flat fee. If there are no issues that are left to be negotiated, you will likely be charged a flat fee. This fee includes the costs to draft a Stipulation of Settlement, make any necessary revisions, submitting the Stipulation to Court and drafting and submitting the Uncontested Divorce Submission Packet necessary to obtain your finalized Judgment of Divorce.
Sometimes you believe you are in the middle of an Uncontested Divorce, and then find yourself arguing about some issue you thought was resolved. If you find yourself arguing about a couple minor issues, you may be charged a mixed fee. A mixed fee consists of the flat fee discussed above plus an hourly rate. The flat fee would be charged against the above-listed services (drafting a Stipulation of Settlement, making revisions, and submitting the Stipulation and Uncontested Divorce Packet to the Court) and the hourly billing would be charged for time spent ironing out those remaining issues. While certainly frustrating, being in a mixed fee situation will still leave you ahead of the game when compared to a Contested Divorce billing arrangement.
Advantages of Methods of Uncontested Divorces on Long Island
The advantages of Divorce Mediation and Collaborative Divorce are very similar. Both will allow you to achieve an efficient and cost-saving divorce. Both Mediation and Collaborative Divorce will be far less expensive than a Contested Divorce. Notwithstanding the cost saving benefits, it is very likely that you and your spouse will have a more amicable relationship moving forward. This is incredibly important if you and your spouse have children together. A Divorce is a very challenging time for children, but seeing parents calmly communicating and being able to be around each other post-divorce can make a huge difference in their lives. If you would like to further discuss your Uncontested Divorce, please call our Long Island Divorce Law firm at 631-923-1910 to schedule your free consultation.
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