15 Oct The Best Case Scenario: What Happens When Divorce Goes Smoothly
So many of the stories we hear about divorce – from friends, family, websites, articles, television, and movies – are horror stories. We hear about divorces that take years to finalize, divorces that nearly bankrupt all parties involved, divorces that leave children neglected and hurt, divorces that cause pain and suffering all around. There’s no doubt that these divorces exist and that they happen every day. The incredibly high divorce rate in the United States virtually guarantees that at least a few, and in many cases a good amount, of these divorces, are unpleasant at best and scarring (physically, financially, emotionally, and mentally) at worst.
However, that doesn’t mean that these are the only types of divorces that happen. These are simply the instances that make the news, or those that are worth remembering. For every frustrating, painful, complicated divorce, there is also a relatively uncomplicated divorce, where two people, who happen to both agree that they no longer want to be married, are able to come to an agreement about many of the issues of their separation. This best-case scenario divorce is usually facilitated by attorneys, who help make it possible for the process to go so smoothly.
So what happens in that best-case scenario, when the divorce doesn’t run into any particularly jarring obstacles? In most cases, this is what’s known as an uncontested divorce – one that is settled “out of court”. Although different states have different definitions and procedures for uncontested divorce petitions, it can generally be understood as a divorce in which both parties decide on the terms of the divorce without resorting to court hearings.
The major issues in a divorce include division of property, division of debt, child custody, and payment of child support and/or alimony. In an uncontested divorce, both spouses (with the help of their lawyers) will talk through each of these issues and come to an agreement on each of them. This does not mean that there aren’t any disagreements between the parties. However, in an uncontested divorce, these disagreements don’t lead to court hearings, and both spouses eventually agree on what needs to be done. This is the best-case scenario of divorce, for several reasons.
First, it saves time – court hearings can drag on for months, and avoiding taking the case to court prevents both spouses from having to work around all of this extremely time-consuming litigation. That way, both people have more time to get accustomed to being divorced and to move on with their lives, and the trauma can be minimized through a “clean break” instead of through dragging the divorce out. This is also better for any kids involved, who definitely don’t need the pain of having to deal with their parents going through a divorce for months or even years. And, of course, where you save time, you will usually save money.
Uncontested divorces also save a lot of pain and trauma for all involved, because taking the case to court can enhance a feeling of animosity between the spouses. Arguing the case in court crosses a line in the sense that it creates feelings of animosity and conflict. This ultimately leaves things worse off for both people and for any children and family members, as they still have to talk to each other after the divorce, whether they want to or not. Working on an agreement, although it may involve a lot of “back and forth”, it clearly shows that both parties are willing to collaborate to come to a mutual agreement. After an uncontested divorce, they will at least be able to be civil and cooperative; after a trial, it may be a bit more tense.
A divorce does not have to be nasty – in a best-case scenario, both parties will work together and cooperate in solving the issues put before them. In these cases, both will be in a better position to emerge from the divorce with a clear feeling of closure and the ability to move on with their lives, rather than debt and emotional baggage. Talk to your attorney if you are going through a divorce and want advice on how to make it go as smoothly as possible.