Not all divorces have to be long, expensive, and messy. In fact, there are many separating couples that are able to agree on all the terms of their divorce without ever stepping foot in court. An amicable divorce, also known as an uncontested divorce, can help you and your ex move on with your lives peacefully.

The major advantage of an uncontested divorce is that both parties can avoid litigation, which can be a lengthy, expensive, and emotional process. In an uncontested or amicable divorce, all the paperwork can be finalized in the your attorney’s office. While there are many advantages to an uncontested divorce, they are not for everyone.

The biggest obstacle to filing an uncontested divorce is that both you and your spouse will have to compromise on tough issues like child custody, child support, spousal support, and division of property. When there are children, significant assets, or other legal issues pertaining to your divorce, it may not be possible for you and your spouse to reach an agreement without the intervention of the court. Mediation is another alternative to court, but sometimes it’s simply too difficult for parties to agree how to separate their lives on their own.

Even if you and your spouse are agreeable to the terms of the divorce, you should still hire an attorney to help you through the process. An experienced divorce attorney can help negotiate an agreement on difficult points, as well as finalize all the necessary paperwork and file it with the court. An attorney can also help you understand the total effect of your divorce for complicated issues such as taxes, which you may not fully understand. While awareness of these issues may impede any agreement you previously thought was acceptable, there are important legal ramifications of divorce that require careful consideration.