Why you need an attorney in an uncontested divorce

Several options in uncontested divorce are available, including mediation and collaborative law. An attorney may be able to help ensure the terms are fair.

It is understandable for couples going through a divorce to want to avoid as much heartache, cost and legal hassle that they can. When disputes are hotly contested, the litigation process may compound all of these problems. Fortunately for couples in Arkansas, there are other options that may reduce these problems if they are conducted properly. These options are known as uncontested divorce methods. It is not always necessary to involve an attorney in some uncontested cases, but an attorney may be beneficial to protect the best interests of each side.

First, it can help to understand the benefits of ending a marriage through uncontested means. These may include the following:

• Can cost much less than a traditional litigated divorce

• Are often less time-consuming

• May reduce conflict and stress

• Can teach valuable negotiation and communication skills

• May shield children from conflict

The most common uncontested divorce methods are known as mediation and collaborative law. The following points explain what is involved in each process, as well as the role an attorney may play.

Mediation

The mediation process involves the divorcing couple meeting with each other and a neutral third party to discuss their divorce disputes and trying to reach agreements that they both can live with. Mediation works best when each spouse is able to discuss things calmly and civilly, as well as keep an open mind to each other's needs and wishes. An attorney is not required during mediation. However, it may help to have an attorney present during mediation who can state whether a suggested solution is fair. At the very least, an attorney may be able to read through the proposed agreement before it is signed.

Collaborative law

Family law attorneys are an integral part of collaborative law. During this process, each spouse has his and her own attorney. They may also consult with additional professionals, such as tax advisors and child therapists. Collaborative law can be beneficial for those with complex property division or child custody disputes, who still want to avoid going to court. If litigation proves necessary, however, the attorneys must resign and each spouse must start over with new lawyers. This rule may give each spouse an incentive to continue trying to reach a resolution without going to court, since hiring multiple attorneys and litigating may be costly and time-consuming.

Before agreeing on one type of divorce method, it is important to discuss your situation with an experienced Arkansas family law attorney. An attorney should be able to review your case and help you decide on the best way to proceed.