When a marriage ends, there are two main routes a couple can take — either a contested or an uncontested divorce.
What’s the difference? Well, a contested divorce is what most people think of when they picture a couple battling it out in court over everything from who keeps the silver flatware to who gets primary custody of their children. Ultimately, the judge has to make the big decisions.
By comparison, an uncontested divorce is relatively quiet and simple – and it stays largely out of the court. To qualify for an uncontested divorce in New York, both parties have to agree to the divorce and agree on all of the practical details of the split.
There’s a lot to discuss if you want an uncontested divorce
Uncontested divorces have the advantage of being tailor-made to each couple’s unique situation (which is not a result that you’re likely to get if a judge has to call all the shots). However, to get an uncontested divorce, you and your spouse will need to negotiate a lot of details, like:
- Child custody and visitation: Will your child rotate between two homes fairly regularly or is it better for them to live primarily with one parent and have visitation with the other?
- Child support: Basic child support is calculated using a formula that takes into consideration each parent’s income, parenting time and the number of children involved. However, parents often negotiate for additional support for special activities, entertainment, sports and other expenses that go along with raising a child.
- Spousal support: If one spouse has been largely dependent on the other, they may need time and assistance to get back on their feet.
- Health care expenses: If you have children, you have to determine who will pay for their insurance and how co-pays and prescription costs will be handled.
- Property division: Whether you have a little or a lot, the practical and emotional aspects of dividing up everything you own can get a little overwhelming.
Without guidance, it can be difficult to make sure you aren’t overlooking something important. Even if you want an uncontested divorce, it’s only wise to have some experienced legal assistance.