If parties to a divorce case have come to agreement on all issues that would resolve the dissolution of their marriage, a document called a “Joint Petition, Marital Termination Agreement and Judgment and Decree for Dissolution” (or a “Joint Petition and Decree”) can be prepared. This is a document that begins and ends the matter all in one document.
A Joint Petition and Decree can address all issues, from custody, parenting time, child support and spousal maintenance to property division. However, it is a good idea to have an attorney assist in the preparation of the Joint Petition and Decree to make sure that all issues are fully addressed so that there are no matters which may arise down the road, such as incorporating a holiday schedule for the minor children, or allocation of vacation time to each parent.
Even if a joint petition is appropriate an attorney can only represent one party. You should decide which of you will retain counsel for purposes of drafting the documents. The attorney can only advise that spouse, but if the other has questions or concerns he or she can seek the advice of a separate attorney.
This is a great way to save the time and stress and expense of a divorce proceeding if you can agree on all of the issues that need to be resolved. You can also agree to divide the costs of the legal services so long as you also agree that only one of you will be entitled to advice from the professional you select.