In Minnesota, an uncontested divorce happens when the two spouses entered in to a comprehensive settlement on all issues pertaining to their divorce and therefore, the Judge did not have to make a decision. An uncontested divorce does not necessarily mean that lawyers or other professionals (such as mediators or financial planners) were not involved. In fact, most family law attorneys work hard to arrive at a settlement and it is only in very rare cases (less than 5%) that a divorce proceeding ends up going to trial. Therefore, it is a misconception that just because an attorney is representing a spouse or because both spouses are represented by their respective attorneys, that the case may not settle between the divorcing couple.
Sometimes mediation is appropriate
Each divorce case is extremely unique and has different facts. Therefore, it is very important to select the appropriate process in order to resolve the case. For example, in some cases, mediation (a process where a neutral facilitates discussion and settlement) may work because both spouses are knowledgeable and understand their legal rights. On the other hand, in some cases, mediation may be completely inappropriate (for example, where one spouse is a victim of domestic abuse). This is exactly where a competent Minnesota divorce attorney can help clients select the appropriate and the most cost-efficient process.
Children have to be considered
Sometimes, a divorce case may involve a genuine difference of opinion between the divorcing couple in regards to custody of a minor child. In such instances, an attorney may recommend utilizing the services of a neutral custody evaluator who can make a recommendation relative to custody and parenting time. This might provide the necessary impetus for the parents to settle their differences and to arrive at a suitable custody or parenting time arrangement. Sometimes, a parenting time dispute may be resolved by the use of reunification therapy (where a parent does not have a close relationship with the minor child).
Yet another example of a professional helping a divorcing couple resolve their differences can be utilizing the services of a financial planner. In a case where some assets are tax free (equity in a home or cash) and where ome assets are yet to be taxed (retirement plan or pension plan), a competent financial planner can provide invaluable advice on the short-term and long-term impact of receiving certain type of assets over others.
Uncontested divorce means agreement was reached
In summary, an uncontested divorce proceeding in Minnesota does not mean that a divorcing spouse not seek the advice or assistance of a professional. Rather, an uncontested divorce proceeding may mean that a settlement was reached precisely because the spouse chose the appropriate professional.