Going through an Uncontested, No-Fault divorce doesn’t mean it won’t be a very challenging time for you. Uncontested and No-Fault are legal terms – they don’t represent all the emotional turmoil that rushes across you when you’re in the midst of a divorce. But if the legal aspects of it are all straightforward, the last thing you want to do is incur more financial costs just to have a Lawyer fill out the paperwork for you, right? Even if that’s all your lawyer did for you, you still may not be correct.
Technically, you do not need an attorney for an Uncontested, No-Fault divorce in Rochester or any of New York State. The necessary forms are available online at https://www.nycourts.gov/divorce/forms.shtml, or at your local county clerk’s office. The legal definition of this type of divorce is one in which you and your spouse mutually agree on the basic terms and conditions of the divorce when it comes to the division of property and assets, as well as to the care of any children. It’s relatively straightforward in terms of divorces. However, any good Family Law and Divorce attorney will coach you through the process – from an unbiased and unemotional position – to ensure you don’t miss something that could impact you for the rest of your life.
When Children Are Involved
If you have children, don’t even give it a second thought – get yourself an attorney you trust. Not to battle it out with your spouse in court (since we’re talking about an Uncontested Divorce), but to make sure the agreements you settle on regarding your children are reflected completely and accurately in the eyes of the law. Matters of custody, guardianship, and child and spousal support quickly get legally (and emotionally) complicated.
Considerations for the Division of Property and Assets
If children are not involved, a Divorce Attorney can assist you in coming to legal agreements on the division of property and other assets, including things that may not be in the forefront of your mind – such as life insurance policies, pensions and future retirement funds. If you don’t divide these things appropriately during your divorce proceedings, you likely won’t have another chance to do so later. If any of your assets have increased in value, there may be tax implications when determining future sole ownership. You may be surprised just how intertwined your assets have become over the years that you’ve been married. Your lawyer can also help you understand these issues and help you through the process of legally transferring ownership.
Completing and Filing the Paperwork
A Family Law and Divorce Attorney will make sure you understand how to complete the paperwork correctly (or do it with or for you) so you don’t miss anything you could overlook in a do-it-yourself divorce. They will also be able to file the paperwork much more expediently due to their experience with the process and local courts involved. Once you make the decision to file for divorce, you do not want to drag out the process for financial reasons, but even more importantly for your own (and your spouse’s) peace of mind. Getting the legal proceedings behind you allows you to move on with your life.
The Role of a Divorce Attorney
The best Family Law Attorneys will be flexible in how they handle your particular divorce. You want a lawyer that can lead and coach you through the legal process while remaining aware of and understanding the emotions you are likely experiencing. In most cases, you don’t want a lawyer that simply responds to questions and supplies the appropriate paperwork – you want them to suggest the things you need to consider, many of which are easy for you to overlook due to your state of mind during a divorce. For example, your lawyer should prompt you to consider the tax implications of the decisions you make as part of the division of property during the divorce proceedings. This doesn’t mean you don’t retain control. Your lawyer should advise you on all matters, helping you think through the implications of each issue. However, the final decisions are always up to you and your spouse.
Determining the Right Divorce Attorney for You
Ultimately, when you are considering to use a Divorce Lawyer, you should meet with them to determine if they are right for you. You can get a good impression of who they are and how they can help you from an initial consultation. Ask how much legal experience they have with divorces, how long they’ve been practicing, if anyone else in their firm will be working on your divorce and in what capacity, and whether their firm specializes in Family Law and Divorce or if it is just one part of their practice. Also ask about whether you will be expected (or allowed) to speak directly with your spouse’s attorney, or if all communications will go through your attorney’s law firm.
The other subject you should inquire about is the cost to use your attorney (or not use them). Ask fundamental questions such as how they will charge you, whether they require a retainer up front, of it’s an hourly rate (and what that hourly rate is) according to services rendered. Also ask if there are other expense you should expect, such as printing and filing fees, or if everything is covered within their retainer or hourly rate.
As a result of your divorce proceedings, you may need additional legal services. Ask about those as well. These may include things such as bills of sale for property, transfer of deeds, and updates to trusts and wills. Your lawyer will likely not be able to give you a precise amount it will cost you because each situation is different, but they should be able to give you an overall idea of what costs you may incur and what they relate to. At that point you may determine the costs satisfactory in exchange for the knowledge that everything will be handled appropriately and expediently. However, don’t be shy about asking if there are any tasks that you might take on yourself in order to help keep the cost of your divorce to a minimum.
Weighing the Costs of Divorce
The costs to use a Family Law and Divorce Attorney to help you through your divorce are twofold: financial and emotional. The financial costs can be deceptive, and just speaking with a lawyer during an initial consultation can help you uncover some of those costs. Neglecting to speak with a lawyer can result in a slow and steady increase in costs as you uncover them on your own in the short term, and can have devastating effects in the long term if you overlook something crucial as you finalize the proceedings.
This leads to the emotional costs as well. You can expect to experience difficult and challenging emotions as you go through your divorce, even if it is Uncontested and No-Fault. Knowing that someone else is looking out for your well-being legally and financially as you deal with these emotions can relieve you of a huge and often time-consuming burden. Even months or years afterwards, when you are in a better state of mind, you won’t need to doubt whether you addressed everything you should have during the proceedings. That in itself is an often underestimated or unanticipated benefit of using an experienced lawyer to get you through a difficult time.