Going through a divorce is a difficult experience that could become a protracted, contentious court battle. For couples who can agree on the key issues, however, an uncontested divorce is a less expensive and potentially more amicable way to end a marriage. Before the court will grant a divorce, however, the parties must be able to reach an agreement. While an uncontested divorce may be the best option for you, it takes the right family law attorney to protect your interests.
Human Alchemy, PLLC, is a premier family law practice serving clients throughout Washington and Oregon. From our offices in Portland and Vancouver, we routinely handle uncontested divorce cases. Founding attorney Leah Eccles Watson is well-versed in the applicable domestic relations laws and has a proven history of helping her clients achieve successful outcomes in uncontested divorces. When you become our client, you can rest assured that will always stand by you.
What is an Uncontested Divorce?
An uncontested divorce is one in which the spouses agree on all the key issues before any documents are filed with the court, including:
- Division of property
- Spousal support
- Child custody
- Child support
In short, both spouses must agree on the division of marital assets, determine spousal support amounts, and if minor children are involved, how to share custody and child support.
Division of Property
Unlike most states, Washington is a community property state for purposes of divorce. This means that all marital or “community” property that is acquired by either spouse during the marriage is split equally. Generally, community property includes the earnings of either spouse (including capital gains, retirement benefits, and other assets) and any property acquired with earnings or community funds during the marriage.
On the other hand, Oregon is an equitable distribution state, which means that the marital property must be divided in a way that is fair to both parties, but not necessarily a 50-50 split.
Regardless of whether you reside in a community property or an equitable distribution state, the best way to enforce your property rights is to consult the uncontested divorce attorneys at Human Alchemy, PLLC.
Depending on the circumstances, one spouse may pay spousal support to the other. While there are differences between spousal support determinations in Washington and Oregon, the key factors include:
- The value of each spouse’s property after the marital assets have been divided.
- The spouses’ ages and health conditions
- The standard of living during the marriage
- The paying spouse’s ability to meet his or her support obligation
- The time the receiving spouse might need to obtain training or education to gain employment and become self-sufficient
- The duration of the marriage
Before the court will grant an uncontested divorce, the parties must reach an agreement on a parenting plan. There are two types of custody: legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody refers to each parent’s right to be involved in important decisions about the child (e.g. regarding education, medical care,) religion) while physical custody concerns which parent the child will primarily reside with. At Human Alchemy, PLLC, we work closely with our clients to design parenting plans that will meet court approval in uncontested divorces.
Generally, child support is paid by the noncustodial parent to the custodial parent. The states of Washington and Oregon rely on their own formulas to calculate child support, however, some of the common factors involved in this determination include each parent’s income, the number of children, the cost of childcare, medical and educational expenses.
After the parties reach an agreement on these key issues, our legal team can help to submit the divorce paperwork to the court. In many cases, a judge will grant a judgment of divorce without the spouses having to make a court appearance.
Is an uncontested divorce the best option for me?
An uncontested divorce offers a number of benefits. First, it is far more cost-effective than divorce litigation. There are a number of legal expenses involved in a contested divorce, such as paying a divorce attorney for preparing legal documents, making court filings and appearances, as well as phone calls, correspondence, and out-of-pocket expenses. Moreover, an uncontested divorce is far more expedient. A settlement can typically be reached in a few months while a contested divorce may take 1 to 2 years to resolve.
Finally, an uncontested divorce can be much less of a burden for the entire family, particularly when minor children are involved. If the parents are able to cooperate both during and after the divorce, it may be possible to minimize the emotional harm that children often experience in a marital breakup.
In the end, while there are a number of advantages to an uncontested divorce, the parties must be able to negotiate in good faith and reach agreements on property, support, and parenting. If the parties cannot agree on these key issues, the divorce will have to be litigated in court.
Contact Our Portland and Vancouver Divorce Attorney
At Human Alchemy, PLLC, our mission is to provide our clients with innovative solutions to their most pressing family law challenges. When you partner with us, we will listen to your concerns and work to protect your interests. While a divorce can be a difficult family transition, you can trust us to stand by you every step of the way. If you are considering an uncontested divorce, please contact our office today to set up a consultation.
Human Alchemy, PLLC helps couples in the Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington metro areas who have already resolved all of the issues and just need someone to take care of the court filings.