What is an Uncontested Divorce?
Also known as a “no fault divorce”, an uncontested divorce is what you’d call a divorce involving two spouses who are in total agreement about everything. All of it. This is, as any legal professional will tell you, the smoothest type of divorce. It’s pretty obvious why that’s the case — when there are no expensive problems to bang gavels over, there aren’t any expensive gavel-banging sessions (a light-hearted term for “litigation”).
Unfortunately, when there’s even one tiny problem involved in a divorce, the signposts are probably pointing down the road of litigation. Those types of separations are called contested divorces. They’re more costly, more time-consuming, and generally a pain in the backside.
However, the existence of minor issues doesn’t necessarily mean contested divorce is the fate of your situation. Depending on how much you and your spouse agree on the terms of separation, and on which terms there is and isn’t disagreement, it’s also possible that things can be arranged so that a potentially stressful and litigation-filled divorce can mutate into a swift and relatively painless uncontested divorce. And the even better news is that any divorce lawyer worth their salt has the ability to make that happen. This is, as any legal professional will tell you, the smoothest type of divorce.
Anatomy of an Uncontested Divorce
It’s all well and good to say an uncontested divorce is one wherein agreement is unanimous for every issue, but what exactly are those issues? Let’s break down the areas of divorce in which you and your spouse will have to be on the same page for a successfully uncontested divorce to take place:
- Division of Property
- Child Support
- Visitation, Parenting Time, and Child Custody
- Alimony Payments
- Existence of Irreconcilable Differences
Further investigation into each of those areas will give you a clearer idea of what exactly you’re going to be dealing with in your divorce. What are the problem areas? Which ones will be a cinch? Every divorce is different, and you’re more than likely the best equipped to answer these questions at this (presumably) early juncture.
The Uncontested Divorce Process
After you’ve contacted the legal professional who will oversee your uncontested divorce and coughed up the appropriate fees, you’ll be well on your way through the land of Various Paperworks. The process, in terms of said documentation, will go something like this:
- Preparation of Complaint for Divorce
- Marital Dissolution Agreement
- Permanent Parenting Plan
The Permanent Parenting Plan, as you might have guess, only applies to divorces involving children. Don’t worry about this type of planning unless you’ve got something to parent.
So, now that you know the basics, it’s time to get started! Check out the websites for whatever law firms you’re considering. It’s common practice these days for divorce lawyers to use online contact forms, which truly streamline the process and will likely help your search for representation to be as efficient as possible.
Paying for Uncontested Divorces
Many law offices will charge a much lower retainer fee for uncontested divorces. Ideally, this will amount to less than a thousand dollars — pretty good when you look at the prices attached to divorces involving litigation. This is, of course, on top of whatever fee your county charges to file your divorce case.
Even if your case does eventually wind up going the way of contested divorces, it’s pretty much guaranteed that whoever you’ve paid to handle your previously uncontested problems will be financially accommodating.