Uncontested Divorce Court

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A divorce may be contested, uncontested or a summary case. It can be contested on a number of issues like child support, alimony, property distribution, etc. Generally a contested case becomes a messy affair with so many issues stretched for a long period of time. On the other hand, some cases need not be a drawn-out affair especially when couples are able to find solution to the various issues, together or with the help of a lawyer or a mediator. Such a case does not require the judicial system to intervene unless there is any legal controversy. An uncontested divorce court reviews the mutual agreement presented by the couple. It grants divorce only when it finds that the agreement serves the interests of both the parties.

Thus it is clear that in this specific process, both the divorcing spouses agree to divorce and also agree on all the terms and conditions . Therefore, there is no need to attend trials. However, there are some activities that have to be executed in the premises of the city house. These are explained below-

Role of Uncontested Divorce Court

The court in the jurisdiction wherein either one or both divorcing partners reside is selected for filing the divorce application. The office of the clerk in such a court is where the application should be filed. In some states in the United States, there is a statute that the Petition must be filed in person. However, in other states, this filing can be done by mail also.

After the divorce application has been filed, the next step is to serve these papers to the Respondent. The Petitioner must enquire with the city house clerk regarding the manner of service that is recommended by the city house. The court would advise one of the following-

  • Using certified or registered mail to serve the papers and procuring a receipt signed by the Respondent.
  • The city house clerk may perform the above mentioned mailing and the Petitioner has to pay for the handling and postage costs.
  • The law officer is allowed to serve the papers if the Respondent lies within the law officer's jurisdiction. This law officer will charge a fee for this work.
  • The petitioner is free to hire a professional process server for this work.
  • A disinterested adult, who is approved by the court, may be given this job.

Irrespective of the methods used, the court requires evidence that the Respondent has been served the papers. One of the following is essential-

  • A signed statement by the server mentioning that the notice was served.
  • Registered mail receipt signed by the Respondent.

Further, the court offers the Respondent to file a Response or Answer to the Petition. In case of an uncontested divorce, the divorcing couples can fill-in and jointly sign the "Appearance, Consent and Waiver" form. This document is used to intimate the court that this is a case of uncontested divorce. It also permits the Judge to endorse the agreement between the divorcing partners without the need of any hearing.

Intervention of the Judicial System in Divorce Agreement

When a divorcing couple without any children goes for an uncontested divorce, the court grants the same after supervising the agreement. But it can intervene and overrule the private agreement if it finds that the agreement does not aim to secure the best interests of the children. It has the power to scrutinize several issues such as child custody, child support, visitation rights, etc. After reviewing the agreement, the court can reject, modify or give new orders that will prove beneficial for the children's life. Thus, sometimes an uncontested process may take more time if such issues are involved.

Forms available in Uncontested Divorce Court

In the various states in the United States, there are a large number of cases of uncontested process. The total list of forms, pertaining to this process, that are available in these courts is very exhaustive and beyond the scope of this article. Let us take the example of any state in the US.

Some of the forms available in the New York Supreme Court are listed below-

  • Verified Complaint
  • Summons
  • Summons with Notice
  • Affidavit in Support of Application to Proceed as a Poor Person
  • Child Support Worksheet
  • Notice of Entry
  • Certificate of Dissolution of Marriage
  • Court Notification
  • Part 130 Certification
  • Proposed Judgment of Divorce
  • Proposed Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law
  • Request for Judicial Intervention
  • Note of Issue
  • Affidavit of Plaintiff
  • Affidavit of Defendant
  • Affidavit of Regularity
  • Sworn Statement of Removal of Barriers to Remarriage
  • Affidavit of Service

To sum up, it can be said that the role of a court in an uncontested case is minimum and ministerial. Whenever any legal controversy or child issues are involved, it's role becomes more important. If all other issues are solved in a beneficial way, it will surely approve the agreement and grant the divorce quickly, so that the divorcing couples can look forward to a happy future.

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