What is an uncontested divorce?
An uncontested divorce is where both parties are in agreement with the divorce being filed, the division of all assets and custody arrangements when children are involved.
Do’s and Don’ts of an Uncontested Divorce
- DON’T close or change joint accounts, insurance policies, utility accounts or anything else that may provide joint use between you and your spouse without the other party being aware and, if needed, participate in the transaction. Shutting off utilities, cancelling vehicle insurance or cell phones can cause problems from the onset of the separation and may cause strife later on.
- DO talk to your spouse about who is going to take control (or make payments) on any accounts that has a bearing on both.
- DON’T talk negatively about your spouse in front of, or especially directly to, your children.
- DO be careful about how you and your spouse handle yourselves, and your words, in front of the children.
- DON’T hide anything from your attorney such as assets (property), retirement or other bank accounts that your spouse may not be aware of – hiding assets in a divorce can cause serious problems for you down the road.
- DO be very forthcoming with your attorney so that he is fully aware of all the facets of the case and can prepare and guide you in the right direction.
- Give our office a call. We will have a few questions for you and will schedule an appointment for you to meet with Mr. Duncan.
- During your appointment with Mr. Duncan, you will need to have already discussed with your spouse what terms you agree upon. Mr. Duncan will walk you through all the different things that will need to be covered, so don’t worry if we ask about something that you didn’t think of – that’s why we are here.
- If you decide that this is the route you want to take, you can retain our services immediately after meeting with Mr. Duncan, or at a later date if you need more time to think it over or to discuss things further with your spouse.
- If some time has passed since your consultation with Mr. Duncan, we will review the information with you again if some time has passed, just to make sure that nothing has changed or that we have all the information needed.
- We will start preparing the paperwork.
- After all the required documents are prepared, we will give you a call to schedule an appointment for you to review. Once you have approved and signed the documents, we can contact your spouse and have them come in to review and sign off as well.
- After both parties have signed all the paperwork, most of the documents are filed with the Court. This is what starts the clock running for the Court required “cool-off” period – 60 days if no minor children are involved; 90 days if there are minor children.
- Once the required amount of time has passed, we can either send the documents to the Judge for their approval (in some situations) or schedule the hearing. In either case, once the Judge has signed the Final Decree, your divorce is complete.
What is the difference between an uncontested and a contested divorce?
- An uncontested divorce is where the parties have reached an agreement between themselves as to the division of property, child support and custody and that the divorce is desired.
- A contested divorce is where the parties have one or more items that they cannot reach an agreement on.
Can couples with minor children have an uncontested divorce?
Absolutely! As long as both parties agree to the terms of visitation, child support or other items covered in the Court mandated parenting plan, then an uncontested divorce can be filed.
Why should I hire an attorney to file an uncontested divorce instead of the free documents provided by the Court?
Although the Court Clerk’s office in some areas does provide free divorce documents, these are only available to parties that do not own real property or have children. Also, if you have substantial debt or assets, you may want to hire an attorney to prepare the documents to make sure that all your bases are covered.