If you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse have recently filed for divorce, you may have some questions about the legal process and terminology involved. For example, the phrase “uncontested divorce”- what does it mean? While it certainly sounds friendlier than a contested divorce, it does not always mean that the split is completely amicable, nor does it mean that both ex-spouses remain friends. In some cases, actually, it can be quite the opposite! The main difference between contested and uncontested divorce is that the latter involves a mutual divorce agreement agreed upon by both parties and submitted to the court, whereas the former usually requires courtroom litigation complete with attorneys and a judge necessary to finalize a divorce agreement. If you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse agree to an uncontested divorce, you may settle out of court by yourselves or through divorce mediation with considerably less time and expense than a traditional courtroom divorce. By following these steps, you and your soon-to-be former spouse can obtain an uncontested divorce that will dissolve your marriage as quickly and simply as possible.
Discuss Major Issues First
It is essential to agree on the key issues of your divorce settlement first; after all, if you can’t come to a suitable agreement about these terms right out of the gates, then an uncontested divorce probably isn’t going to work for you. Things like alimony, child support, custody and who will retain residence at the home you share are considered major issues that should take priority at your divorce mediation hearings.
Devise a Suitable Custody Plan
If you have children, you will need to work out a visitation schedule, as well as agree upon who is the primary custodian. If you have agreed upon joint custody, you will need to hammer out a plan about with whom the children will live and when, as well as pre-arranged pickup and drop-off times and days each week. In addition to these details, you should get on the same page about who will handle the children’s various doctor and dentist appointments, extracurricular activities, school events and discipline. Not being able to agree on custody may result in the need for an attorney, as well as complicate your kids’ lives in the wake of your divorce.
Equitably Divide Assets
Being able to fairly divide your common marital assets such as houses, cars, investment plans and savings accounts is key in an uncontested divorce. Both parties need to reach a compromise on which spouse gets what, and how much each spouse is entitled to receive. Inability to settle a division of assets by yourselves can set your uncontested divorce process back considerably.
Seek Mediation if Necessary
Divorce mediation is a good option for settling your divorce if any issues are unable to be resolved on your own. A divorce mediator will guide you through discussions and negotiations to arrive at a suitable agreement for both parties.
File Divorce Paperwork
When your divorce agreement has been reached, either on your own or with a mediator, you will need to complete the appropriate paperwork to dissolve your marriage in the eyes of the law. You will first file a petition with the county in which you live, and also must meet your state’s residency requirements. There will be some other forms to fill out and submit before you can file all of your divorce paperwork and put things in motion with your county.
Make It Official
Since this is an uncontested divorce, you and your spouse already are aware that the divorce is taking place; still you must notify him or her that you have filed divorce paperwork. In some states, you will have to attend a hearing in a courtroom to finalize the divorce; other states do not require this.
Once your uncontested divorce is on file and has been approved by your state, you are officially no longer married. You and your ex-spouse may now begin your new lives separate from one another. Uncontested divorce is a good option for couples who do not have any major issues of contention and who both agree that dissolving the marriage is the best option. Contact SplitSimple for more information about uncontested divorce.