When You've Already Reached an Agreement
Sometimes, couples just want a friendly divorce. There are no shouting matches, no affairs, no bombshells. The couple has decided that they no longer want to be married and they want to divorce and divide their assets amicably.
If you’re in that camp, the positive news is that your divorce shouldn’t cost as much as a contested divorce. If you are both amicable but haven’t yet decided on custody schedules, assets and the like, a collaborative divorce is a great option
Collaborative divorce attorneys are specifically trained in the collaborative process. We keep couples out of court and work with both sides to resolve all matters pertaining to the divorce. The collaborative process is highly effective and has increased in popularity in recent years.
In the alternative, if you’ve both already agreed upon all aspects of your divorce, you may only need an attorney to write up the agreement for you. If you’re in this position right now, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Not All Attorneys Offer this Service
When you’re calling a law office, tell them you and your spouse have already agreed on the terms of your divorce and you need an attorney to draft the agreement as a scrivener. Ask if they provide that service. Some attorneys do not. While this service is straightforward, it may not be as comprehensive as you need, as the scrivener attorney cannot give you independent legal advice.
You're Not Legally Divorced Yet
Even though you’ve figured everything out amicably, someone still has to initiate the divorce proceeding with the court and file the appropriate legal paperwork. It’s not adversarial. It just has to be done in order for you to be legally divorced. You will either have to do that part yourself or pay an attorney to file and finalize the paperwork for you.
Divorce Takes Time
Drafting up a legal agreement may be the easiest and quickest part of the process for you and your spouse. If you agree on everything, you don’t waste time. However, your state may still have a mandatory waiting period before you can get legally divorced. In North Carolina, you must be physically separated for a full year before you can file an action for divorce.
If your attorney drafts a Separation Agreement for you and your spouse, the attorney is acting as a scrivener. He or she is incorporating the terms upon which you’ve already agreed into a binding legal document. If you have certain questions about the terms or someone has a change of heart, that attorney will not be able to give you legal advice. You’ll have to consult with and/or hire a different attorney in order to receive independent legal advice.
The total cost will depend upon a few factors; namely: the attorney’s hourly rate, how long it takes him or her to draft the agreement, and the communication (included requested edits) between you and the attorney. But, generally speaking, this service should cost significantly less than a traditional lawsuit.
A Consultation is a Good Idea
Every case is different and there may be nuances in your case that require more than just a Separation Agreement. Schedule a consultation so that you’ll know whether you indeed just need an attorney to draft the agreement or if you’ll need more. A consultation will also give you a better handle on the potential cost involved.
At Dasher Law, our mission statement is “Divorce Differently.” We want to help keep you out of court and give you the opportunity to move on to the next new chapter of your life. If you’re ready to divorce differently, call us to set up a consultation. We’d love to help.
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Lindsey Dasher is the Managing Partner at Dasher Law PLLC
416 W. John St.
Matthews, NC 28105
Monday-Thursday 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Friday 8:30 a.m. - 2 p.m.
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