Authored By: Christopher Pearsall, RI Divorce Attorney
a.k.a. " The Rhode Island Divorce Coach ℠ "
Many people call me simply to price shop over the phone for the cheapest lawyer. People usually just say "I have an uncontested divorce. Everything is agreed upon. How much do you charge for a simple divorce like that?
I have never asked a caller if they know what an uncontested divorce is because I have no intention of embarrassing or insulting them.
Yet many people don't know. From my perspective, an uncontested divorce is one in which both spouses have agreed on every aspect of a divorce that must be agreed upon in a divorce proceeding including all of those that must be stated to the judge in the courtroom. Additionally, an uncontested divorce is one in which no motions are filed by either by party and the case is resolved at the Nominal Hearing date.
The Nominal Hearing date is the first hearing date scheduled in a divorce proceeding. It is, in essence, a friendly divorce hearing between parties who have agreed how to resolve all of their issues regarding children, support, marital assets, marital debts, insurances, medical expenses, etc.
I strongly suggest that you don't presume you have an uncontested divorce. Many people do not know the things that the court requires to hear from them, nor do they know what they should do to properly protect themselves even when they do agree upon things.
In 2013 there has been a trend where about 70% or more of people are representing themselves and handling their own cases by themselves (Pro Se). Now in the mid to later part of 2013 I am finding myself attempting to fix what was (or was not) done by these people in their divorces. Many times I am unable to do anything because of the way in which the person represented themselves.
I urge you to think twice before representing yourself without the advice of an experienced family law lawyer after you have fully informed him or her about your entire marriage circumstances.