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What are the risks of filing uncontested divorce?

For many couples, the desire to end a marriage quickly and simply clouds their judgment and leads them to a problematic resolution of their marriage that does not fully protect them or serve either party's interests particularly well. Uncontested divorce, in which both parties agree to a streamlined process and minimal negotiations around property division and any parenting or custody terms, is simply not a good fit for all couples, even if they want it to be.

For uncontested divorce to truly serve the couple's interests, it is necessary for the legal matters at hand in the divorce to be relatively few and relatively simple. Uncontested divorce is not likely going to work for couples with significant assets or liabilities, or who require complex custody guidance to protect the best interests of their children.

Too often, an uncontested divorce is the preference of one spouse who is ready to leave the marriage at any cost, even to his or her own detriment. A spouse who is highly motivated to end a marriage quickly may not realize just how many issues must resolve before a divorce fairly finalizes. This does not only mean that a spouse may leave money or assets on the table in the negotiations, it can seriously threaten a spouse's future financial security if the two parties do not properly separate their debts from each other. This is rarely a simple process. In fact, many couples do not realize at first just how intertwined their financial worlds actually are.

Should you hope to achieve a simple, responsible divorce, you may have more options than you realize. It is wise to take time to consider all the legal tools you have available before rushing into (or out of) divorce, to ensure that your rights and priorities remain secure, regardless of how simple or complex the divorce is.

Source: FindLaw, "5 Potential Pitfalls of an Uncontested Divorce," accessed March 23, 2018

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