In an uncontested divorce, both spouses must acknowledge all their divorce-related issues. Every state has specific requirements for an uncontested divorce. For instance, you’ll need to meet the state’s residency requirements and waiting period before you can ask the judge to finalize your divorce. You’ll also need to have a signed and final divorce settlement agreement that address all the issues available for you.
Generally in most states, the couple must present a signed settlement agreement outlining the following:
division of marital property and debt
allocation of infant custody and parenting time
alimony (also known as spousal support or spousal maintenance)
whether one spouse would like to restore a maiden name, and
some other divorce-related issues highly relevant to the couple.
Uncontested Divorce Process
The first step in the uncontested divorce process is to go over it with your soon-to-be-ex-spouse. The hallmarks of uncontested divorce are that you consent to the divorce and everything the conditions of the divorce. Next, you should understand that you can proceed alone or with a lawyer. You might feel that because you as well as your spouse acknowledge everything, you don’t need independent attorneys, but that’s incorrect. To ensure that the proposed divorce settlement agreement protects your rights, it’s better to at least check with with separate attorneys before you sign and proceed.
You’ll need to file a petition for an uncontested divorce (sometimes called a complaint) with your local court and pay a filing fee. If you can’t spend the money for filing fee, most jurisdictions allow you to ask the court to waive it by submitting a cost waiver request. You may even need to file additional documents, depending on your geographical area.
Every state’s uncontested divorce process varies, but generally, you’ll need to submit the correct forms as well as your signed settlement agreement to the court. Once you submit the mandatory documents, you’ll need to hold back for your state’s waiting period to expire. You can check with your local court to learn if the normal divorce waiting period is waived for uncontested divorces.
After the court reviews your paperwork and determines that you’ve met all state requirements, the court will either schedule a final hearing in front of a judge, or a judge will sign the judgment of divorce with out a hearing.
If you must attend a hearing, you should go ready to answer a few pre-determined questions on the record (under oath) from the judge. Usually, the goal of this final hearing is designed for the court to make sure you meet up with the state’s divorce requirements and this both of you voluntarily consent to the conditions of the settlement. After you’ve answered the court’s questions, the judge will sign the final judgment of divorce, as well as your case will conclude.
Probably, the uncontested divorce process reaches the most notable of the list for saving money and time when it comes to a divorce. If at any time, however, either spouse disagrees with the conditions of the agreement or asks the judge to solve a conflict, it’ll turn your uncontested divorce into a contested divorce.
Aside from time and money, one of the primary downfalls of a contested divorce is usually that the judge (not the spouses) maintains control over the results. When couples interact to create a divorce settlement agreement, they control what happens with their family. For instance, although couple may disagree on frequency and the precise days for custody exchanges, they could agree that shared custody is most beneficial for the kids. However, when the court becomes involved, a judge could see custody very different.
Benefits of an uncontested divorce
There are benefits to making use of your state’s uncontested divorce process. For instance:
It costs less overall overall (even though the filing fees for an uncontested divorce and contested divorce are identical). Whether or not both spouses hire attorneys, an uncontested divorce doesn’t require arguing, evidence, or a lot of time in the courtroom, which lead to significant savings.
In most situations, an uncontested divorce will also preserve the partnership between your spouses. It’s no secret that divorces can further erode an already damaged relationship. Because an uncontested divorce requires the spouses to interact for one common goal, it usually leaves a better relationship intact at the end.
Filing for an uncontested divorce will likely imply that the judge will finalize the divorce faster than a contested divorce.
Spouses who interact to create a settlement agreement will follow the orders following the divorce is final. When couples understand the reasoning behind the custody, support, or visitation orders, there’s less bickering, which contributes to less unnecessary court hearings in the foreseeable future.