How to Keep a Divorce Uncontested

The simplest path to dissolving a marriage in Arizona is by uncontested divorce. This method is available if you and your spouse agree not only that the marriage should end but also on all material issues, such as property division, child custody, child support and alimony. An uncontested divorce is less expensive, faster and often as simple as signing a mutual petition that leads to a consent decree. By contrast, a contested divorce involves going to court, presenting evidence and having a judge decide all disputed issues.

Sometimes, what starts as an uncontested divorce can end up on the contested divorce track for various reasons. A spouse who was receptive to an uncontested divorce may change their mind when they realize some of the practical implications. Disputes may erupt over division of property, either in general or with respect to specific assets or suspected hidden assets. Likewise, even if the spouses agree in principle to equal parenting of the children, conflicts over the details can arise. 

Whenever possible, spouses should try to keep their divorce from becoming contested. Here are some ways to further that goal:

  1. Transparency — Maintain open and honest communication with your spouse. Discuss your priorities, concerns and expectations openly to ensure mutual understanding.

  2. Clear documentation — Keep all relevant documents organized and easily accessible. These include financial records, property deeds and other proofs of asset ownership.

  3. Full asset disclosure — Take an accurate inventory of all property you and your spouse own. Asset division becomes much easier if there is no suspicion that either spouse is hiding assets.

  4. Planning for parenting — If children are involved, develop a comprehensive plan that addresses legal decision-making, parenting time and shared responsibilities. 

  5. Budgeting for separation — If spousal maintenance is to be paid, discuss and agree upon the terms. Consider factors such as the duration and amount of the payments so as to work out a fair arrangement.

  6. Willingness to compromise — Approach negotiations with respect for each other's needs and a willingness to compromise. Being flexible and finding common ground can lead to a more amicable resolution.

  7. Avoidance of delay — Do not procrastinate in dealing with issues as they come up. Strive for a timely resolution to minimize stress and legal expenses.

Sometimes, a divorce becomes contested when there are instances of domestic violence between the spouses. These circumstances usually demand engaging in mediation. As a neutral third party, the mediator may be able to avoid confrontations and work out a fair settlement.

The best way to keep an uncontested divorce on track is to obtain legal representation. An attorney can give the required attention to detail so that disagreements are averted before they become big issues. 

At Clark & Schloss Family Law, P.C. in Scottsdale, our experienced attorneys provide counsel to Arizona spouses in all stages of divorce. Call us at 602-789-3497 or contact us online to set up a free consultation.