When it comes to divorce, there are two options to choose from: contested and uncontested. However, many people don’t know the difference between the two or that uncontested divorce is even an option. Join Collins Family & Elder Law Group to learn what an uncontested divorce is and if it is the right option for you.
What Does Uncontested Divorce Mean?
An uncontested divorce is when both couples agree to the divorce and all aspects of the divorce, including:
- Child custody
- Child support
- Spousal support
- Property division
If both parties agree to all of the above, the divorce process can usually be streamlined and finalized faster. Additionally, an uncontested divorce is usually cheaper and can be easier on everyone during an already difficult time.
Choosing an Uncontested Divorce
Once a soon-to-be-divorced couple knows about an uncontested divorce, it is usually their preferred option. Without the back-and-forth fighting regarding the issues above, people find that an uncontested divorce lets them end their marriage peacefully and with dignity. Let’s learn about the pros and cons of an uncontested divorce.
Pros of an Uncontested Divorce
An uncontested divorce has many benefits for both parties, which is why many people choose to take this route. Uncontested divorce benefits include:
- Cheaper — An uncontested divorce is almost always cheaper than a contested divorce. This is because the ex-spouses don’t need to go through mediation or multiple court hearings.
- Private — Since a contested divorce goes through local courts, the divorce filing becomes a public record and is available to almost everyone. With an uncontested divorce, the paperwork and filing information is kept between the people involved and is only signed off by a judge after everything is done.
- Faster — When people agree on every aspect of the divorce, there isn’t anything to fight over. This means there is no mediation, no negotiations, and no court hearings slowing the process down. In most cases, an uncontested divorce can be finalized three months after the divorce papers are served.
- Less stressful — Going through a divorce is already painful and stressful. An uncontested divorce makes the process more amicable and less stressful since everything is already agreed upon beforehand.
Cons of an Uncontested Divorce
While an uncontested divorce is almost always the better option, there are still some disadvantages to divorcing this way. Uncontested divorce cons include:
- Unbalanced power — If a marriage is ending due to domestic abuse, one spouse usually has an unfair advantage over the other, meaning the disadvantaged spouse may just be agreeing to everything to end the marriage, not because it is fair and balanced. In this care, it would be better to involve lawyers to ensure a fair and equitable divorce for both parties instead of going the uncontested route.
- Hostile relationships — If abuse wasn’t present but there is a lot of anger surrounding the end of the marriage, it might be difficult to handle the internal negotiations needed to move forward with an uncontested divorce. Again, you would be better off hiring a lawyer and filing for a contested divorce instead.
- Limited availability — While every state offers uncontested divorce, not every jurisdiction in the state will. You will need to find out if your area allows for an uncontested divorce and what you should do if it doesn’t.
- No dispute resolution — Should a problem arise during the uncontested divorce process, there are no mediation or dispute resolution options. The divorcing couple would need to work out any issues on their own to continue with an uncontested divorce.
- Solo paperwork — Both parties in the divorce should feel comfortable understanding and filling out all of the divorce paperwork. You will be responsible for all of this as you move through the uncontested divorce process.
Do I Need a Lawyer for an Uncontested Divorce?
In general, no. You will not need a lawyer to handle an uncontested divorce as you and your soon-to-be-ex should be on the same page and able to handle everything together. However, many legal experts agree that speaking with an attorney after filing for divorce is the smart option. You can discuss your current uncontested plan, have the lawyer look over your paperwork, and make sure things are fair, balanced, and legal.
If you worry that problems could arise during the uncontested divorce, it never hurts to hire a divorce attorney. Keep in mind, though, that a divorce lawyer can only represent one person in the divorce, so you would both need your own attorneys if you choose to hire them.
Speak With an Uncontested Divorce Attorney
At Collins Family & Elder Law Group, we have decades of experience helping people navigate the divorce process. Whether you are pursuing an uncontested or contested divorce, our attorneys are here to help you every step of the way. Contact our team to schedule a consultation today.