What is an Uncontested Divorce?

What is an Uncontested Divorce?

You’ve already decided and agreed upon divorce. But what comes next is where things can get messy. This is when you have to start making decisions about who gets what. You may have to make sacrifices and compromises about certain things, which can be difficult for both parties involved. That’s where we come in.

One of our core values is “divorce with dignity” because we know just how easy it is for divorce to bring out the worst in people. But we know you don’t want that. We know you don’t want to lose your dignity in the battle. To avoid the worst of it, you may be able to look to an uncontested divorce for help.

What is an Uncontested Divorce?

Uncontested divorces allow you to settle discrepancies with your spouse outside of the court. They make things easier and more cost-efficient for both of you and allow a more peaceful process to occur. You and your spouse can settle your issues together in a mutually acceptable agreement–either with or without lawyers–which is then reviewed by a judge and either approved or denied. Since there’s usually something that one or both of the spouses cannot settle on, this kind of divorce is quite rare.

What are the Other Types of Divorce?

There are really only two main types of divorce: contested and uncontested. The situation at hand will determine which type is more appropriate for you.

Contested Divorces

In contested divorces, spouses are unable to settle or come to an agreement upon one or more issues in their divorce. These issues might involve the reason or desire for divorce, a custody battle, division of assets, etc. If the situation evolves to a contested divorce, the couple will likely be forced to go to court. This may not be the ideal situation, but in some cases, this may be the only attainable or practical option. If one spouse is unwilling to cooperate/refuses to sign, if abuse is involved, or even if the couple simply cannot get along, you may be looking at a long process that will entail a court date.

Additionally, there are two ways to actually file for divorce, which may affect which type is right for you. One way to file is through at-fault grounds and the other is by declaring no fault. In an at-fault case, you are claiming that the other party is at fault for the divorce. In a no-fault case, you are declaring that neither of you are at fault. Both ways of filing can be used in either type of divorce. So there are at-fault contested divorces as well as at-fault uncontested divorces in the same sense that there are no-fault contested divorces as well as no-fault uncontested divorces. As confusing as it may be, here are the ways to file at their most basic level:

At-fault Divorces

At-fault divorces require proof of one of the following grounds for the divorce to be granted:

  • Adultery
  • Physical cruelty*
  • Habitual drunkenness or narcotics abuse
  • Desertion

*emotional, mental, and verbal abuse are not grounds for divorce in the state of South Carolina

Since this course of divorce requires proof, it can take a while for 1. Acquisition of proof by either spouse, 2. The proof to be reviewed, and 3. Approval by a judge for the divorce to be granted. As a result of the long time frame and need for court involvement, this option will cost a lot more than no-fault divorces.

No-fault Divorces

Another way to file is through no-fault divorce, in which case neither party is blamed for the divorce. A no-fault divorce will require both spouses to live apart for at least a year before the divorce can be granted. With this option, you can avoid the blame game, and the process will run much smoother than an at-fault divorce.

Pros of an Uncontested Divorce

One of the pros of uncontested divorces is that they’re more cost-effective than contested divorces. They can allow you to avoid a court date, where you would be forced to go in front of a judge and jury to present your case and pay for a lawyer to represent you–both in and out of the courtroom. The lawyer would have to spend more time preparing, and you would have to pay more as a result.

On that same note, it is also less stressful than a contested divorce–not only for cost reasons but also for having better control over the situation. In an ideal case, you and your spouse will be able to settle disputes yourself, with or without lawyers, to get what you want more easily. You will both be making the decisions yourself rather than putting that job in the hands of a judge. This does not mean that you will get exactly what you want, but the outcome will likely be more favorable, knowing you both made the decisions and compromises on your own terms.

With less stress and drama comes less tension in your relationship as well, which is especially ideal for couples with children. In addition, uncontested divorces are less time-consuming, which can also contribute to a better relationship, both with your spouse and children.

Cons of an Uncontested Divorce

Some negatives to uncontested divorces are that they can still be overwhelming, uncomfortable, intimidating, or confusing, especially if you and your spouse attempt to navigate the divorce on your own. If this is the case, finding an attorney to help you work out any discrepancies or confusion would be helpful. Side note: One attorney cannot work with both of you; both parties would need to find their own lawyer.

When is Uncontested Divorce the Right Option?

  • When spouses have children and want to keep the divorce as drama-free as possible for them
  • When both spouses still get along, or can at least tolerate one another until the process is complete
  • When both spouses want a peaceful, quiet, and speedy divorce
  • When a couple has already divided all of their assets or have a detailed plan in place

When is Uncontested Divorce not the Right Option?

  • When abuse is involved
  • When spouses do not get along. If one or both parties cannot communicate in a civil manner, then nothing will get settled.
  • When one spouse does not want a divorce and refuses to sign

Figuring out which type of divorce is right for you can be challenging. If you or anyone you know are trying to get a divorce and would like to learn more about your options, contact Christine Howard at (864) 282-8575 or info@christinehoward.com. You can finally get your questions answered and learn how to make the best of your circumstances.

Legal Separation vs. Divorce: What is the Difference?

Legal Separation vs. Divorce: What is the Difference?

When couples are going through a divorce, they might not know the correct path to take. There are several terms that can be used during the divorce process. For instance, many attorneys will use the term “legal separation”. Some couples might think that this is just a fancy word for divorce. It is not. A legal separation and a divorce are two different processes. While they have some similarities, there are more differences between legal separation and divorce.

What is Legal Separation?

Legal separation is a court order that lays out the rights of the couple while they are separated. In this process the couple is living apart, but they are still married. In a divorce the couple is no longer married. Legal separations are not very common but they can be useful. Couples can opt to legally separate while they are going through any issues that might be affecting the marriage.

Similarities to Divorce

There are not many similarities to divorce but there are a few major areas that are the same in both processes. These include child custody and alimony payments, visitation rights, and property distribution. Handling all of these areas properly is important in both legal separation and divorce. When couples separate for any reason, even if it is temporary, they still have to make sure their children and any assets are taken care of during the separation. Working with attorneys and the courts for separation will ensure that division of custody and property is taken care of in the best way possible.

Differences Between the Two

There are many more differences between legal separation and divorce. The first being healthcare and other benefits. Healthcare when legally separated can still be kept by the couple. This is because the couple is still married. By not divorcing, if one spouse has a medical emergency while separated they have access to the same care that they had before. When divorced, each spouse would be responsible for finding their own forms of healthcare.

The next thing that is – obviously – different is marital status. When couples are legally separated they are still married. When they get divorced, the marriage is over. Another factor that is different is decision-making. When couples are married, then each spouse is usually the prime decision-maker for the other in the event of a medical problem. After divorcing, each spouse will need to find someone else to be their decision maker.

Debt is also affected in both processes. In legal separation the debt still remains for both parties. Since the couple is still married, the are still responsible for paying back loans together. When they divorce, the debt is divided between the two according to who can more easily repay. Finally, couples can more easily reconcile with each other in legal separation. Since the courts have not undone the marriage then couples have every opportunity to get back together. When a divorce is final, couples are officially single. There is no option to end the separation and return to the marriage. The only solution would be to remarry each other.

Seeking Help for Your Divorce

Legal separation and divorce are not processes couples should readily jump into. They require careful thought and advisement from the proper authorities. If you or someone you know is thinking about entering either one, contact Christine Howard today. Christine or one of her team members would be glad to talk to you and answer any questions that you may have. Christine can be reached at info@christinehoward.com or by phone at (864) 282-8575.

Referenced from “Legal Separation vs. Divorce” by FindLaw’s Team of Legal Writers and Editors.

Uncontested Divorce and Children

Uncontested Divorce and Children

Divorce is a difficult process for any couple to go through. But not only is it difficult for the adults, it is incredibly hard for the children involved. Everything that the kids have known is suddenly being ripped away from them. Now they are having to adjust to an entirely new schedule and way of life. If divorce is inevitable, then an uncontested divorce is the best method for everyone.

Why is Uncontested Divorce Best?

In an uncontested divorce, both spouses are able to reach an agreement in separation. It is settled outside of court. By doing this, there is less stress for everyone involved. Also, uncontested divorce presents a united front for the kids. Even though their parents will not be together anymore, it shows that they are still able to work together. Couples who are able to work together will show their children that there is no animosity between them.

Uncontested divorces also do not force children to take sides in court. If parents are fighting custody battles, kids will sometimes be asked decide which parent they would like to live with. This can be stressful for children. They love both of their parents and they don’t want to pick between them. With couples that choose an uncontested divorce, that stress is removed.

Uncontested Divorce and Child Custody

Uncontested divorce is also the easiest way to handle child custody. In an uncontested divorce, the parents are able to agree on every aspect of the separation. This includes custody. If the couple is able to decide amongst themselves how parenting duties will be shared, then everybody can be happy with the arrangement. This also takes a lot of stress off the kids. They do not have to worry about having to decide who they want to live with. They also do not have to worry about their parents fighting anytime they are together.

Other Benefits of Uncontested Divorce

Another benefit of uncontested divorce with kids is that it does not cost as much. When couples go through a contested divorce, they are having to constantly shell out money. There are endless fees and other costs that take away money from other areas. With uncontested divorces, couples are working outside of court without all of the hassle that goes along with it. In other words: they are saving a lot of money. This money can be put toward other funds, like college or retirement savings.

Uncontested divorce with children is the best method for everyone involved. It removes time, hassle, and stress from both the couple and the children. It also allows the couple to redirect the money used in a contested divorce to other areas. If you or someone you know is considering a divorce, contact Christine Howard today. Christine or a member of her team will be glad to answer any questions that you might have. She can be reached at info@christinehoward.com or by phone at (864) 282-8575.

Referenced from “Online Uncontested Divorce With Children” from completecase.com.

Referenced from “What Does Uncontested Child Custody Mean?” by David Betz.

How to Tell Your Kids About Uncontested Divorce

How to Tell Your Kids About Uncontested Divorce

Divorce is never easy for anyone involved. But it is especially hard on children. No parent wants to have to tell their child that everything they have known and loved is about to change. That is devastating for them to hear. Going through an uncontested divorce is the best possible outcome. It prevents the child from watching their parents fight in court. It also eliminates the possibility that they might have to decide which parent they want to live with. But regardless of the type of divorce, there is still no easy way to break the news to children. There are some tips to telling kids about divorce.

 Make Sure They Understand It’s Not Their Fault

When parents divorce, children can often times feel like they were part of the reason. They can think that it might be their fault. But this is not the case. Parents need to make sure that their children understand that they had nothing to do with the divorce. Also make sure they understand that it was no one’s fault. It was not the mother or the father who did something. Rather, the couple may have just grown apart. Helping the child to understand that the are not at fault will help them to cope with the overall process as well.

Share Only Relevant Details

Children are an important part of the divorce. However, that does not mean that they need to know everything that’s happening. They only need to know about the things that are relevant to them. These would include where they will be living, how the parents plan to co-parent them, whether or not they will need to move schools, etc. What they do not need to know is every problem that the parents might be having, how the divorce process is playing out, and any general annoyances the parents might have. The role of the children is not to be their parents sounding board. It is good to talk about the process, but when the children start to hear every problem, it is no longer healthy.

Present a United Front

Another thing that children whose parents are divorcing need is for the parents to be united. Parents who are divided on how the children will be raised will not be a good thing for the children in the long run. Everything they know is about to change. They need some form of stability to help them adjust. By having parents who present a united front for them, they can have confidence knowing that their parents will put their well-being first. Couples should always put the needs of their children as a top priority. By showing the kids that they can still work together, they can help their relationship as well. They have something that they still need to work together for. If they can parent together, then they will have a better chance of having their relationship stay on good terms.

Divorce is never an easy process for families to go through. When telling kids about divorce, it can be especially painful. If you or someone you know is thinking about divorce, contact Christine Howard today. Christine or a member of her team would be happy to answer any questions that you may have. Christine can be reached at info@christinehoward.com or by phone at (864) 282-8575.

Referenced from “Guide to Telling Your Children About Divorce” by Ayo & Iken Attorneys and Advocates.

What Do You Need to Know Before Meeting With Your Divorce Lawyer?

What Do You Need to Know Before Meeting With Your Divorce Lawyer?

Meeting with your divorce lawyer for the first time can be an intimidating process. You’re about to start out on a new phase of life, and a person that you have never met before is going to help you do it. While meeting with your lawyer can be scary, it doesn’t have to be. There are a few things to remember first before you have your first meeting.

Know What You Want

The first thing to remember when going to meet your attorney for the first time is to know what you want. Your attorney is there to help you draw up the terms of your divorce. A way to help speed this process along is to already have an idea of how you want to separate your assets. This does not have to be completely taken care at the beginning. You can go in with just an idea. It’s better to have an idea than nothing at all. Your attorney can help you with the specifics at your meetings. But having an outline of what you want beforehand will help tremendously when planning the terms of your divorce.

Have Financial Information Ready

Financial records are crucial to separation. In order to be able to divorce without much problem, you need to have all of your financial records available. This includes all bank accounts, credit cards, retirement savings, stocks, the last three years of tax returns, pay stubs, etc. Gathering all of these before meeting with your divorce attorney will be helpful to the process. The attorney will be able to have all of your records at the beginning and can reference them throughout the process while you both work to divide the assets evenly.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions

It’s perfectly fine to ask questions when you meet with your attorney for the first time. They expect that. Divorce can be hard and confusing. Attorneys understand this and they want to make the process as simple as they can. They understand that you are feeling confused and unsure of what to do next. They want you to ask them questions and they are more than happy to answer them for you. Having a list of questions already prepared can help you when you talk with your attorney. It is perfectly fine to ask questions that you think of as they come up. However, going into the meeting with prepared questions can help both of you. You already have an idea of how the process might work and can clarify anything you don’t understand. And when you ask a question to your attorney, it might be about something that they might have forgotten to go over.

Meeting your divorce lawyer for the first time can be a bit scary. But it does not have to be. If you or someone you know is looking to divorce, contact Christine Howard today. Christine or one of her team will be glad to answer any questions you may have about the process. Christine can be reached at info@christinehoward.com or by phone at (864) 282-8575.

Referenced from “5 Steps to Take Before Meeting Your Divorce Attorney for the First Time” by Weinberger Divorce & Family Law Group.

When is Separation the Best Option?

When is Separation the Best Option?

Separation is never a process that couples should rush into. It needs to be something that they spend time carefully thinking about. Separation is not always the best option for struggling marriages. But sometimes, there is nothing else that can be done. Separation can provide couples with a much needed break to evaluate the marriage. There are three main reasons why separation might be the best option.

Abusive Spouse

The first scenario where separation might make sense is in an abusive situation. When one spouse begins to seriously threaten the safety of the home, it is time to make a break. The spouse who is the victim has a responsibility to themselves and anyone else in danger to separate and get away from the abusive spouse. Some might try to wait out the danger and hope that it will end. But this is never the right course of action. Most likely, the abusive spouse will continue down that path, and staying will only make it worse for everyone. By getting away from the situation, you are protecting yourself and your children from being placed in harm’s way and allowing for the proper authorities to bring help.

Continuing Bad Habits

Another reason that couples should decide to separate is if one spouse has a history of continuing behaviors that break down the marriage. These can be anything from addiction to infidelity. The marriage can only survive if couples work together to combat any issues they are facing. If one spouse who is suffering from habitual problems refuses to correct them, a break might be in order. The other spouse being affected can do nothing but sit at the sidelines and watch. That is not fair to them and it is not fair to anyone else involved either. Spouses will know that it is time to separate if the spouse who is committing the behavior is not showing any signs of stopping or even wanting to stop.

Separating as Therapy

Sometimes couples will separate as a way to work through any marital issues. While separation is never something to step into lightly, couples who choose to go this route – especially for therapeutic reasons – need to think about it very carefully. Couples who separate for these reasons may not be seeking to divorce, but their marriage might not be working out in the way that it once did. The goal of separation would be temporary with the hope of reconciling. During this time, they need to evaluate where both stand on the marriage and attend counseling together. This way they can determine if the marriage can still work. If not they know that it is time to divorce.

Separation for any reason should be thought about very carefully before couples split. All couples who are seeking this route should not take it lightly. If you or someone you know is thinking about separating, contact Christine Howard today. Christine or anyone on her team would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have about the separation process. She can be reached at info@christinehoward.com or by phone at (864) 282-8575.

Referenced from “Things to Consider Before You Separate” by Focus on the Family.