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Do I Need a Lawyer for an Uncontested Divorce?


Getting divorced can be a messy and contentious process, but it doesn’t always have to be. In some cases, a couple can agree to all the legal and financial terms of their divorce with relative ease. This doesn’t mean that ending the marriage won’t still be emotionally difficult, but it may reduce the time, cost, and logistical difficulty of the divorce itself.

In order to have an uncontested divorce, you and your spouse will need to agree on every aspect of your divorce settlement, including:

Even if you and your spouse believe that your divorce will be uncontested, hiring an experienced divorce lawyer to help draft or review the terms of your divorce settlement can help to ensure that your agreement protects your best interests in the long term.

Benefits of an Uncontested Divorce

An uncontested divorce can have many benefits, including:

Saving Time and Money

An uncontested divorce can be an ideal solution for couples who want to avoid the time, expense, and stress of a contested divorce. By avoiding a lengthy and expensive court battle, couples can finalize their divorce with less stress and cost. If necessary, a couple can take advantage of mediation in order to figure out creative solutions to relatively minimal disagreements while hopefully still avoiding a protracted and costly contested divorce.

More Control

An uncontested divorce also allows both parties to make decisions that suit their specific circumstances and preferences. Going this route helps to ensure that each spouse retains more control over the outcome of the settlement agreement. Rather than handing over decision-making power to the court, you and your spouse can decide how to divide assets and debts, whether and how much child and/or spousal support should be paid, and what kind of parenting agreement suits your family best.

Preserves a More Amicable Relationship

Finally, an uncontested divorce can help a couple preserve an amicable and respectful relationship even after their marriage has ended. By avoiding the hostility that often marks divorces that are fought in a public courtroom, an uncontested divorce provides a way for each party to communicate their individual needs without resorting to accusations or blame. Even if the couple needs the support of mediation services, they are more likely to be focused on listening and working together toward a mutually beneficial agreement.

In the long term, this can make it possible for divorced spouses to retain a positive working relationship and reduce the amount of resentment and anger that each spouse carries with them after the divorce. This can be especially important for parents who will need to continue working together to co-parent their children.

Filing for an Uncontested Divorce in Rhode Island

Some states provide a simplified option for filing couples who want an uncontested divorce. Rhode Island, however, does not. Instead, you will file for a no-fault divorce rather than a fault-based divorce. A fault-based divorce will almost surely be contested, as you will have to prove the grounds for claiming fault. No-fault reasons include “irreconcilable differences” or a pre-existing long-term separation of at least three years.

In Rhode Island, you will also need to have at least one hearing before a judge, even if you and your spouse agree to all the terms of your settlement. The judge may ask you to answer questions and explain the terms included in your settlement and you may also need to provide witnesses to testify to your Rhode Island residency status and the basis of your no-fault divorce.

While the judge will make a decision about your divorce at the hearing, you will need to file an additional form with the court at least three months after the judge’s decision in order to finalize your divorce. In the meantime, you will still be legally married.

How McIntyre Tate LLP Can Help

Even an uncontested divorce can be stressful, and it can be difficult to feel confident that you are reaching a fair, reasonable, and legally valid settlement without the benefit of legal counsel. At McIntyre Tate LLP, our experienced divorce attorneys will help ensure that your legal rights are protected and that you are fulfilling all of the legal requirements necessary to successfully file for divorce.

Whether you are able to reach an amicable agreement with your ex, end up needing the support of mediation services to reach an agreement, or are unable to avoid a contested divorce, we can help advise you through every step of the divorce process. Contact us online today or call us at (401) 351-7700 to schedule a consultation.