You and your spouse have decided to call it quits, but you have vowed to remain the best of friends. You have simply come to grips with the fact that you’re not in love with each other anymore and you both deserve to be happy. Your kids are now old enough to understand and you and your soon to be ex are certain that you’re on the same page.
To the both of you, it just makes good financial sense to save money on your divorce when it’s all amicable. You just need the paperwork done, so it’s a great idea to use the same family law attorney, right? This might come as a shock to you but that’s rarely a wise idea, and most attorneys won’t even attempt to go down that road with clients.
Do I need a divorce lawyer if we agree on everything?
You and your spouse are entitled to use any family law attorney you want when going through a divorce. If an attorney agrees to represent both spouses, you will both more than likely be required to sign a waiver to avoid a conflict of interest. Because you each are entitled to separate counsel who protects your separate interests in a divorce, it’s a poor idea to engage dual representation. Few family law attorneys will agree to represent both you and your spouse because divorce conflicts are routine so it may result in a bigger problem than its worth for everyone involved.
You’re also permitted to proceed pro se (representing yourself). This is not the best idea for anyone divorcing when you have children and property at stake. It may seem like a good idea at the time, but when you run into the first instance of trouble that requires a deeper knowledge of the law or procedure, you’re going to regret not hiring a qualified divorce attorney. If a judge believes that you’re unable to competently represent yourself, he or she may require that you retain an attorney anyway.
Can an uncontested divorce be contested?
There’s a saying that a certain road “is paved with good intentions.” That’s a fairly accurate analogy for uncontested divorces. Uncontested means that you and your spouse agree on all issues so that there’s nothing to dispute. Contested is just the opposite – you disagree on one thing or all things, and the court may have to step in to decide for you.
Even when you and your spouse still have deep admiration for one another, divorce tends to bring out the little reasons that underly why you’ve chosen to end your marriage. What may seem minor was obviously enough to cause your parting of the ways. Even if you can keep it together on that front, there are unpredictable conflicts that may surface at any time during your separation and divorce.
Your kids may become upset and create conflict or hard feelings where those issues didn’t exist before. Even if the reasoning is flawed, your kids may blame one of you more for the divorce and create feelings of resentment between you and your spouse. It may also stir up custody and visitation arguments that you never thought could surface. Suddenly one parent is afraid of losing his or her children, or another parent is worried that his or her relationship with the children has been negatively affected.
You may disagree at some point on the value of marital property that you’ve agreed to divide. The home you raised your kids in while you both worked was a manageable expense while you had two incomes. Now that you’re going to need two homes on half the budget, you have to sell the house and split the proceeds. What happens when the appraisal comes in much lower than anticipated? All of a sudden one of you starts thinking about the months of sweat equity you put into fixing up the house with your inheritance so equally splitting the profits now seems unfair.
If you have a pet you both adore, have you figured out who is taking custody of Fluffy, or who will be responsible for veterinary care expenses and decisions? Many people feel as though their pets are their children and the anxiety of possibly losing them can be emotionally devastating. That fear alone can cause conflict. Some couples have figured out how to arrange the sharing of pets with the help of their attorneys.
Divorce may seem simple for some couples, but it can quickly become complicated without any intention. The best advice for both of you is to seek separate attorneys who will separately protect your interests so that you can remain cordial, as planned.
When you find yourself in the midst of divorce discussions with your spouse and are ready to seek the advice of a knowledgeable Charlotte family law attorney, contact Epperson Law Group, PLLC to confidentially discuss your legal needs. Schedule your consultation in our Charlotte, Boone or Weddington office today by calling 704-321-0031, or by reaching out to us through our contact page.