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Uncontested divorces are faster but may create financial risk


Going through a divorce is a stressful experience, and many people will do anything that they can to speed it up. Sometimes, that can mean seeking an uncontested divorce by agreeing on all of the terms of your divorce with your ex. In 2015, Maryland changed state laws to allow for much faster uncontested divorces for couples without minor children.

If you don't have children or they're over 18, there is no longer a requirement for a full year's legal separation before you and your spouse can file for divorce. You can finish your divorce and get on with your life, provided that you and your spouse can agree on reasonable terms for your divorce.

Uncontested divorces can give you control over everything

When the courts have to hear testimony about your marriage and your wishes in divorce, they end up holding all the power over the outcome of your divorce. That could mean losing out on assets or terms that had strong emotional value to you personally. An uncontested divorce, on the other hand, allows you and your spouse to create all of the exact terms of asset division and other concerns (like pet custody).

For some couples who can't quite agree on how to split everything up, mediation can be a way to set proper terms for an uncontested divorce. For others, it may only be necessary to sit down together, each with his or her own attorney, to discuss what is fair and reasonable in your case.

Uncontested divorces could create a risk for uneven divorce outcomes

While you may want to keep things as simple, fast and affordable as possible, the terms of your divorce, including asset division and spousal support, will impact your financial situation for many years to come. In order to protect yourself and your future, you need to make certain that the terms you set with your spouse are fair to both of you, not skewed in one person's favor.

You should retain your own legal counsel to ensure you receive adequate guidance. You should also take time to carefully review financial records from your marriage. Explore any indication of potential dissipation of marital assets or hidden assets to make certain that you're fairly splitting the assets and debts from your marriage.

It's possible for one person to use wealth, intelligence or even emotional manipulation to try to influence the outcome of an uncontested divorce. Having professional help to evaluate your circumstances, financial records and proposed divorce terms can help you avoid getting taken advantage of by your spouse in an uncontested divorce. If you want to have a fresh start in life, you should try to do it on as favorable of terms as possible.

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