By Attorney Howard Iken: I have heard some people compare divorce to a death in the family. It is something they cannot look squarely in the face. And if you don’t look straight at some things – it is easy to pretend they do not exist. A contested divorce is a horrible, unimaginable thing to contemplate for some people. Like many hard-to-face events, it is easier if there can be an illusion of a gentler, kinder divorce. That is probably why a lot of people fool themselves into thinking their divorce will be uncontested.
Our firm offers an uncontested divorce package – for a reasonable flat fee. Some people come to us to retain an attorney for our uncontested package. The problem is that many of those people don’t have anything even resembling an uncontested divorce. They pretend their situation will be low stress and uneventful. But everything they say betrays that belief. I have even had people talk about making the other spouse suffer – at the same time they sign a contract for an uncontested divorce. For some people I believe it is a matter of money. They want to hire us for an uncontested case and think we will look the other way when their spouse does not feel like settling. I think other people try not to face reality. They hope that by hiring us for an uncontested divorce – reality will be warped to somehow fit their vision.
Over time I settled on a standard description of an uncontested divorce in an attempt to properly educate clients: “If the two of you are arguing over a salt shaker – your case is contested.” Sometimes that statement brings someone back to reality. But there will always be clients that will not face reality. And every now and then we get a case that is truly uncontested. For someone used to fighting over just about everything – those cases are a true pleasure.