Couples handle the decision to end their marriage differently. Some are determined to fight for everything and anything while others just want the legal process of divorce over with as quickly and painlessly as possible. If you are among the latter, you may be planning to have an uncontested divorce. Is that really the right choice for you though? A Murfreesboro uncontested divorce lawyer at Bennett, Michael & Hornsby helps you decide if an uncontested divorce is right for you.
What Is an Uncontested Divorce?
If you have watched from the sidelines while a friend or family member went through a contentious and litigious divorce, you may have promised yourself that would never be you. Consequently, when the subject of your own divorce came up, you may have reacted by telling your spouse you will agree to whatever, just to get the divorce done and over. This sounds like a positive reaction and one that can result in an amicable, uncontested divorce. For that to happen, however, you and your spouse will need to agree on absolutely everything. That includes how your marital assets and debts will be divided, how you will handle rearing any minor children of the marriage post-divorce, and how much child and/or spousal support will be awarded in the divorce. Before you agree to an uncontested divorce, consider what that means for your future and the future of your children.
Why Might You Want to Contest Your Divorce?
A common misconception is that a “contested” divorce means that one party does not want to get divorced. Whether both parties want the divorce or not is usually irrelevant. Like most states, Tennessee offers both fault and no-fault grounds when filing for divorce. As the term implies, a no-fault divorce means there is no need for either party to prove fault to be granted a divorce. Tennessee also offers the parties the options to allege the following fault grounds when asking for a divorce:
- Habitual drunkenness or abuse of narcotic drugs
- Living apart for two years with no minor children
- Inappropriate marital conduct
- Willful or malicious desertion for one full year without a reasonable cause
- Conviction of a felony
- Pregnancy of the wife by another before the marriage without the husband’s knowledge
- Refusal to move to Tennessee with your spouse and living apart for two years
- Malicious attempt upon the life of another
- Lack of reconciliation for two years after the entry of a decree of separate maintenance
- Impotence and sterility
- Abandonment or refusal or neglecting to provide for spouse although able to do so.
Typically, there is no benefit to choosing fault grounds, other than the emotional satisfaction you get from proving that your spouse did something wrong during the marriage. There are, however, exceptions to that general rule. It can be beneficial to allege fault for custody purposes, if you are seeking an unequal division of marital assets, or if you are asking for spousal support. As such, before you agree to an uncontested no-fault divorce, be sure to consult with an experienced divorce attorney about your options.
In addition, you may not want to agree to an uncontested divorce if you have minor children. Any divorce that involves minor children requires the parents to submit a Parenting Plan that includes things such as who the kids will live with the majority of the time, how much child support will be paid, a parenting time schedule, and a plan for resolving conflicts that arise in the future. It can be tempting to keep the Parenting Plan as simple and basic as possible just to get through the divorce. The problem with that is that a basic Parenting Plan can leave out important details that may turn into a costly legal battle down the road.
Likewise, you may not be focused on material things because your emotions are taking center stage right now. After the divorce is final, however, you might be sorry if you left money or assets on the table in your divorce. At a bare minimum, you should consult with a divorce attorney to make sure you know what you are entitled to from your marital estate before agreeing to a settlement.
Contact a Murfreesboro Uncontested Divorce Lawyer
If you have additional questions about an uncontested divorce in Tennessee, it is important that you consult with an experienced Murfreesboro divorce lawyer to ensure that your rights are protected throughout the process. Contact the team at Bennett, Michael & Hornsby as soon as possible by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your free appointment.