In 2017, 50 percent of Americans aged 18 and older were married. That figure has remained relatively stable since then.
The vast majority of couples that enter into marriage hope to remain with their spouses for life. But for many couples, that doesn’t happen. An estimated 45 percent of all marriages in the US end in divorce.
If it has become clear to you and your spouse that your marriage can no longer work, you may want to consider an uncontested divorce. It’s the ideal option for couples who want to avoid dramatic litigation in divorce court, heated debates between attorneys, and the exposure of embarrassing scandals.
If uncontested divorce seems like the right path for you, but you don’t know where to start, you’ve come to the right places. This post offers details on this approach to dissolving a marriage.
Read on to learn more.
What Is an Uncontested Divorce?
An uncontested divorce refers to a divorce in which both spouses agree on all material terms of the divorce. Thus, there’s no need for a court to divide assets. Moreover, the court doesn’t need to make determinations regarding spousal, and child support or custody as the spouses have already agreed on that.
Note that you’re still going to need a judge to approve your settlement and final divorce. Generally, this shouldn’t be a problem as the judge will normally approve your settlement agreement. However, the judge may fail to approve the agreement if it becomes clear that the divorce terms are unfair to one spouse or were arrived at when one spouse was under duress.
What Is the Process of an Uncontested Divorce?
The first and most critical step in an uncontested divorce is to have a discussion regarding the marriage dissolution with your spouse. The success of an uncontested divorce process hinges on you and your spouse agreeing to the divorce as well as all its terms.
Once you’ve agreed to the divorce and the terms, the next step is to decide whether to hire a lawyer or proceed alone. Generally, it’s best to talk to a divorce attorney, even if you and your spouse have agreed on everything. A seasoned divorce lawyer will ensure that the agreement you’ve reached protects your rights.
A reputable law firm, such as Colorado Legal Group, can also help make sure that you understand all the requirements you need to meet for a successful uncontested divorce process. These include residency requirements, if necessary. An attorney will also help you complete the paperwork involved in the divorce process, making everything so much easier for you.
The third step involves filing a petition with your local court for an uncontested divorce. Note that there’s a filing fee required, but you can still submit a request for the court to waive it if you can’t afford the fee. Find out what other documents are required and file them.
Once you’ve submitted the necessary documents, including the signed settlement agreement, wait for the court to review them. If the court is satisfied that you’ve satisfied the state’s requirements, it may schedule a final hearing.
Generally, a final hearing is meant for the judge to make sure that both spouses meet the state’s requirements and agree to the terms of the divorce settlement. If that’s clear, the judge signs the final divorce judgment, concluding the case.
What Are the Benefits of an Uncontested Divorce
Opting for an uncontested divorce is beneficial in many ways. Here are three of them.
The Process Is Faster
When you’ve been facing marriage issues for some time, you want to get things sorted as quickly as possible. In a contested divorce, the entire process can take much longer, adding to your pain and frustration. Divorce cases that go to trial in the US take an average of 18 months to finalize.
An uncontested divorce takes substantially less time. In some states, the entire process can be finalized in less than two months.
Uncontested Divorces Are Easier
Anyone who’s ever gone through a contested divorce will tell you just how complex the process can be. Contested divorce litigation can get highly complicated. You and your lawyer will need to file motions and respond to others, besides undertaking a lengthy discovery process and attending multiple court hearings.
With an uncontested divorce, you bypass all these hurdles. All you need is for you and your spouse to reach an agreement and file your case in court. It’s an easy, painless process.
It’s Less Expensive
Contested divorces can be expensive. Expect to pay at least several thousand dollars by the time the divorce is finalized.
Conversely, there’s hardly any conflict in an uncontested divorce, which means you won’t need to spend a fortune on an attorney to represent you for months or years in divorce court.
Sure, you’ll still need an attorney to help make sure that your best interests are protected in the divorce. However, the legal bill in uncontested divorces is typically much lower than in contested cases.
An Uncontested Divorce Is the Better Option
The ending of a marriage can be a painful process, but it does not have to be dramatic. By choosing an uncontested divorce, you and your spouse can get your marriage dissolved in a civilized and peaceful manner. Moreover, you get to save a significant amount of time and money, which is a nice thing during this difficult time.
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