In New York, the concept of divorce elicits the image of a courtroom drama with the parties in an endless cycle of dispute over various issues. This often includes alimony, child support, property division, visitation rights and more. People who are in the middle of a complicated divorce will have a litany of concerns as the process moves forward. Having legal assistance when contemplating the end of a marriage is always advisable.

Still, many people will think about their individual situation and wonder if they are candidates for an uncontested divorce. For some, this is a wise step. For others, it is a mistake. Understanding when the circumstances are applicable for an uncontested divorce and when they are not can help people make an informed decision as to whether this is the route to take.

In an uncontested divorce, the parties have agreed to divorce and have negotiated how to handle their finances and property division. There are certain criteria that must be met to have an uncontested divorce. They are: the parties must be over 18; the couple has no children under 21; the marriage has been over for a minimum of six months and there is no viable path to reconciliation; and there has been a settlement of all property division, including debt.

Many people will use the “do it yourself” (DIY) program when having an uncontested divorce. For some, this is a good step to take to save time and money, but there must be a foundation to use this alternative. If the parties are on relatively amicable terms and can negotiate a settlement, then it is a useful strategy. However, many divorces are not like that. Even if the determination is made that legal representation is not needed, it is still smart to consult with an attorney to assess the situation. Divorce is complex and it is wise to have legal help no matter the situation.