Smith-Hynes Law Firm LLC

10639 Business 21, Hillsboro, MO 63050  (636)-797-4343 

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We Agree On Everything...Do I really need a Lawyer for my Uncontested Divorce?

Posted on December 1, 2015 at 11:50 AM

There is no simple answer to this question really as all marriages and relationships are very different.  If you are one of the few and fortunate to agree on 100% of the issues at hand and can work together smoothly and effortlessly to make the process as painless as possible, then give yourself a pat on the back.  You are the 3%!

For the rest of us, most who have never been through the divorce process think about the big issues like: who gets the house, custody of the kids and support for the kids.  In reality, there are a mulititude of other related issues that must be agreed upon as well.  Look at this sample list of topics and if it doesn't make your head spin by the end of it, again, give yourself a pat on the back. 

I.  PREAMBLE

 

A. Identification of Parties to Agreement

 

B. Date and Place of Marriage

 

C. Separation Date

 

D. Status of Court Filings

 

E. Identification of Children

 

F. Intentions in Coming to Agreement

 

1. Settle All Issues Equitably

2. Best Interests of Children

 

G. Acknowledgment of Current Employment/Income Status

 

II. PARENTING

 

A. Decision Making (Legal Custody) and Primary Residence

 

B. Weekly Residential Schedule

 

C. Holiday and Vacation Periods (overall intention)

 

1. Spring and Winter Vacations from School

 

2. Summers

 

3. Halloween (Trick or Treating; Costume)

 

4. Thanksgiving Day/Weekend

 

5. Hanukkah

 

6. Christmas Eve/Day

 

7. New Year's Eve/Day

 

8. Easter

 

9. July 4th

 

10. Three Day Weekends resulting from school/legal holidays

 

11. Other Holidays

 

12. Children's Birthdays

 

13. Mother's and Father's Days

 

14. Parents' Birthdays

 

15. Flexible Time

 

16. Holiday Schedule Supersede Weekend Schedule

 

D. Substitute Child Care Providers

 

E. Transportation

 

F. Prompt Exercise of Time with Child

 

G. Right to Communicate with Child

 

H. Fostering Affection and Respect

 

I. Access to Information from Schools, etc.

 

J. Parental Cooperation

 

K. Parental Communication

 

L. Safety and Security

 

M. Future Conflict Resolution Process

 

N. Future Review of Parenting Arrangements

 

1. Annually

 

2. Remarriage or Cohabitation of Either Parent

 

3. Change in Employment Schedule

 

4. Possible Future Moves

 

5. Disability

 

6. Child's Wishes

 

7. Other

 

O. Child Support

 

P. Responsibility for Extracurricular Activities, Sports Equipment, Lessons, Clothes

 

Q. Education and Other Major Expenses for Children

 

R. Medical/Dental Insurance

 

S. Uninsured Medical Expenses

 

T. Life Insurance (to protect support responsibility)

 

1. Amount

 

2. Beneficiary

 

U. Dependent Deduction

 

V. Gifts to Children

 

W. Agreement to Make a Will

 

1. Percent of Net Estate to the Children

 

2. Legal Guardians

 

X. Savings Accounts/Trusts for Children's Benefit

 

III. SPOUSAL SUPPORT & INHERITANCE RIGHTS

 

A. Beginning Date and Amount

 

B. Duration

 

C. Stepped Decreases

 

D. Tax Implications

 

IV. PROPERTY AND DEBT DIVISION

 

A. Distribution of Personal Property

 

B. Pensions, Annuities, IRAs, Social Security, etc

 

C. Distribution of Real Property

 

D. Debts

 

E. Income Tax Returns for the Current Year

 

F. Prior Tax Liability

 

G. Attorneys Fees and Costs

 

V. MISCELLANEOUS

 

A. Grandparents' Rights

 

B. Pet Care/Expenses

 

C. Future Modifications

 

D. Full Disclosure

E. Legal Representation Advised by Mediator

Now say you fully understand and agree upon the previous topics, it is time to file.  Do you know the process from beginning to end?  There is an abundant amount of documents to be filed and specific requirements for each.  Far too often clients come to us that have begun to manage their own divorce and then became frustrated with the amount of dead-ends they faced.  Documents that were rejected by the courts due to errors, missing information, missing forms, and on and on.

Have an attorney alongside you during this process isn't designed to turn uncontested divorces into a nasty contested one by any means.  It simply gives you the reassurance that you are not alone in the process and will ensure you, as well as your estranged spouse, that everyone is properly prepared for the divorce process and that the result is satisfactory and fair.



Categories: 2015

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