Uncontested Divorce Process

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Family laws are formed for dissolution in almost all countries in the world. In many countries there are two ways of fighting a case – contested case and uncontested divorce process. In the first case, married partners fight their case in a court, and thus the intervention of the court is necessary. But when a divorcing couple reaches on an agreement regarding the major aspects of the separation, it is called as an undisputed case. The court confirms the dissolution and offers legal force to the agreement. Thus, the procedure becomes just a formality.

The uncontested divorce procedures are relatively simpler. The pro se parties can take the help of an attorney while preparing the marital agreement, if they want to. This is one type. Another type of an is when the partners do not take part in the proceeding or do not make any attempt to inform the court regarding their absence.

To help you gain a resourceful knowledge about the process of an uncontested divorce, some important aspects related to this topic are elaborated here:

Steps in an Uncontested Divorce Process

  • Petition: Preparation and Filing
  • Service of notice
  • Waiting period (wherever it is applicable)
  • Settlement and Proposed order: Preparation and Filing
  • Case hearing for confirming the agreement (wherever it is applicable)
  • Final Decree: Entry

Explanation of Uncontested Divorce Process

Filing the Petition: One of the divorcing partners files a petition. This partner is called as a Petitioner or Plaintiff in different states. The Petitioner makes arrangements for serving the notice to the other divorcing partner who is known as a Defendant or a Respondent in different states.

Divorce Hearing and Order: An hearing may not be essential if the divorcing partners agree with each other on the following issues:

  • Spousal support
  • Child support
  • Visitation rights
  • Child custody
  • Property and debt division
  • Any other issues
The divorcing partners submit a settlement. If this is accepted by the court then an order may be entered and the finalization takes place.

Waiting Period: The detailed procedure of an undisputed dissolution can vary not only from one state to another but also from one court to another. Several states impose specific waiting periods. In such states, although the divorcing partners agree with each other on all issues, both have to wait till this period is over and then the finalization takes place. For example, in California the divorcing partners have to wait for a period of six months till the termination becomes final. If you file for an undisputed case in Nevada, you have to wait for sixty days before the court makes the final judgment.

Presence of divorcing partners in the court: Some Judges demand that the divorcing partners should remain present in the state court for the following reasons:

  • In order to ascertain that both the partners have understood the agreement and have accepted it out of their own free will.
  • In order to confirm that both the partners agree to the terms of the order of the court.
Final Judgment: When the Judge puts down his or her signature on the order, only then the decision becomes final. It is only after this signature that one can say that the couple has been separated permanently. The date of this order has special significance particularly for those who desire to remarry. There are varying remarriage waiting periods in varying states for a valid remarriage.

Every court procedure has its benefits and drawbacks. So you should be familiar with all these before you actually file for the case. The benefits and drawbacks of an uncontested divorce process are described here:

Advantages of uncontested divorce

  • The amount of money spent is very less.
  • There is minimum level of conflict between the divorcing partners.
  • The information pertaining to the divorcing partners is kept private.
  • There are minimum adverse effects on the children. The children feel good when their parents are co-operating.
  • This process takes lesser time to get completed as most of the issues are already solved without the intervention of the court.
  • As partners are responsible for the decisions, they are more likely to remain satisfied with their future.

Disadvantages of uncontested divorce

  • Only one divorcing partner can have a lawyer. Thus, there is an imbalance of power between the divorcing partners.
  • If children have unusual parenting requirements, resolving them is a difficult task.
  • This type of dissolution may not be beneficial for spouses who have suffered emotional and physical abuse.

Sometimes it may so happen that both the parties willing to have an mutual separation are unable to reach to an agreement. They may not be able to resolve a few issues. In such a case, they may go for divorce mediation. Professional mediators will offer them the best unbiased solutions.

Before taking any major decision regarding your case, you must know the whole procedure in detail. The information given above amply describes the uncontested divorce process in detail. There may be many specific state-wise requirements; you can consult a lawyer in order to learn about the specifications that will be relevant in your case.

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