Updated: 03/21/2018 2:25 PM | Print Story |  Email

Uncontested Divorces

Donald Trump Jr. is in the news because of an "uncontested divorce" from his wife Vanessa. Jodi and Shannon from Terzich and Ort stop by to explain what that is, and what the upsides and issues might be. 

Their thoughts are below: 

An uncontested divorce typically this means that there are no disputes. The parties agree on all of the settlement terms
The parties hire attorneys and work out the details and then file the agreements - this is seen as uncontested. It doesn’t mean that they did not have to work hard  and do some give and take to get the settlement done.
 
Always best to have professional advice and understand the implications of the agreements. 
 
When people come into the office and say they have agreements they are often missing huge pieces. For example, a woman comes in and says we have agreed I will stay in the house. But they never discussed nor agreed on when and how she will refinance the mortgage and get it out of her husband’s name. That is a huge deal as it can prevent the husband for purchasing a new home. And even if they think they have agreed, often they have not met with mortgage officer to ensure it is possible. So the “agreement” falls apart because they did not negotiate the details
 
The judge must approve the agreement and they do not have to rubber stamp it. People sometimes think they have agreements and when they come in we have to tell them the Judge might not or will not approve their agreement. That is hard for parties – they think if they agree the court should allow it. That is not the case. The Judge is reviewing the agreement and independently must agree it is consistent with the law, meets the bests interest of the child and is fair and equitable. 
 
The most common way to have a divorce decree rejected is when people try to agree that there will be no child support. Cannot just agree to no child support. The child support is based on a calculator and it is for a child. It is not a parent's right to waive child support. People also think that if they each have 50% of the time with a child they don’t pay child support and that is incorrect. 
 
Some judges will not agree to joint custody
 
If the property settlement is imbalanced i.e. I keep all my retirement and you keep yours  but mine is worth 1 million and yours in only worth $1,000 – this may cause court to ask questions
 
A settlement is always best. You know what you are getting. The concept of an uncontested divorce simply means the parties used the appropriate professionals to reach an agreement. The professionals draft the agreement and properly submit them to the court. 
 
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