When reviewing the options for a divorce, an uncontested divorce handled through alternative dispute resolution methods is one of the fastest, easiest, and most cost-effective ways to secure a dissolution of marriage. Some couples may believe that this method has no need for legal representation. However, there are significant benefits to working with a Columbia divorce attorney, even in an uncontested divorce.

While working with an attorney is more costly, there can be more significant and long-term costs if you don’t work with one, such as ending up with an unfair agreement or dealing with negotiations that drag on. You’re more likely to avoid legal errors with an attorney, and they can better protect your rights.

How an Attorney Benefits an Uncontested Divorce

Uncontested divorces are filed when spouses agree on the main aspects of a divorce agreement, including the division of debts and assets, spousal support, child custody and visitation, and child support. Of course, even when spouses generally agree on these issues, there are still specifics to negotiate when writing out a separation agreement. A parenting plan, in particular, requires very detailed information.

Minor disagreements are likely to occur during this process, but spouses can work through them and reach compromises. This is much easier to do with a mediation attorney or attorneys representing spouses in a collaborative divorce, guiding discussion and mitigating conflict. The benefits of working with an attorney in an uncontested divorce include:

Fair and Accurate Agreement

Drafting a separation agreement needs to be done correctly, and a divorce attorney has experience with these agreements. An attorney can ensure that the relevant information is included, and they can also review the document to see if the court is likely to approve it. Typically, the family court will approve the agreement as long as it is fair to both spouses and in the interests of any children the couple has.

By working with an attorney from the beginning of the process, they can caution against potential issues while the separation agreement is being negotiated. This, as well as a final review, can help prevent issues that may hold up an agreement in court or require you and your spouse to create a new agreement.

Legal Knowledge

An attorney’s legal knowledge also helps in other areas of an uncontested divorce. These include helping you meet legal deadlines and filing requirements for more than just the separation agreement. Your divorce may have many unique aspects that you are unsure how to approach. An attorney may be able to help. Having a professional by your side can lower the stress you feel during the process.

Negotiation Experience

Divorce attorneys often have a lot of experience in divorce negotiations, while you and your spouse may have little to none. Whether you are working with a mediation attorney or you and your spouse are each represented by your own attorney, this experience can ease negotiations. Spouses may have minor disagreements throughout the process, and an attorney can help guide discussions and prevent the escalation of these disagreements.

Protection of Rights and Interests

If the division of property or an award of spousal support is made improperly, it can have devastating financial consequences for a spouse. Unfortunately, even when spouses are trying to work together on a fair agreement, these mistakes can occur. In worse cases, one spouse may try to take advantage of the other in these informal proceedings. An attorney can help prevent these errors and ensure that each spouse leaves the divorce with fair resources.

Resources for Complex Issues

Divorces are all unique, and some are more complicated than others. Attorneys often have experience with these complex issues, and they have the resources needed to address them. This may include financial professionals and appraisers to help with complex property divisions.

Support If the Divorce Is Contested

You and your spouse may begin the divorce process believing that your divorce is uncontested, only to discover that you do not agree on all issues. This does not always mean that the divorce must be litigated, although it may. An attorney can help you make informed decisions about changes in the divorce process.


Q: How Long Does an Uncontested Divorce Take in Missouri?

A: The amount of time an uncontested divorce takes in Missouri will vary significantly, but it must take a minimum of 30 days. This is the required waiting period in the state from the date the petition is filed until the court can finalize it. To file the petition, one spouse has to meet the residency requirements, which can lengthen the process if neither spouse meets them. An uncontested divorce may take longer if spouses are still determining the specifics of their separation agreement.

Q: How Much Does a Divorce Attorney Cost in Missouri?

A: The cost of a divorce attorney in Missouri varies. Their rates depend on the attorney you work with and the specifics of your divorce case. An uncontested divorce tends to be less costly than a contested or litigated divorce. A more experienced attorney often has higher rates, but their experience may result in a faster resolution to the divorce negotiations.

Q: Do You Need a Lawyer to Get Divorced in Missouri?

A: You are not required to hire an attorney to get divorced in Missouri, but there are many benefits. This is true whether your divorce is contested or uncontested and whether it is being handled through court or through alternative dispute resolution. An attorney helps you understand your rights, advocates for you and your family’s interests, and helps the process resolve more efficiently.

In negotiations, an attorney is useful in determining if a separation agreement is likely to be approved by the court.

Q: Does It Matter Who Files for Divorce First in Missouri?

A: It doesn’t matter to the outcome of the divorce who files first in Missouri, although there may be some tactical benefits for certain spouses. The spouse who files, the petitioner, and the spouse who responds, the respondent, are treated the same in court. No decisions are made based on who filed first. The petitioner typically presents their side to the court first, which may be seen as an advantage or disadvantage. The petitioner can also choose where to file.

Navigating Your Uncontested Divorce

Stange Law Firm can help you navigate and negotiate an uncontested divorce. Contact us today.