We get a lot of calls in the office from people who tell us they have an uncontested divorce. Truth is, they don’t all have uncontested divorces, for lots of different reasons that we’re not going to go into today. But that brings me to this question -what is an uncontested divorce? And, why does it matter?
There are two ways to have an uncontested divorce. One way to have an uncontested divorce is to have a situation where both husband and wife agree on everything – EVERYTHING. Everything, in an uncontested divorce, means that they both want the divorce, both agree to the property division (who takes what), both agree to the terms regarding liabilities and debts (who is responsible for what and who is going to pay what), both agree to all of the child sections including possession schedule and times and child support, and anything else that they agree to, and want to include in the decree like spousal maintenance or international travel requirements.
The other way to have an uncontested divorce is when one party is in default and is not contesting the divorce. Default is when someone is served with citation (formal notice of the divorce that contains a deadline to appear in the case) and doesn’t file any pleadings in response to the service by the deadline. Some of the pleadings that could be filed after being served with citation in divorce are an Answer, an Answer with an Original Counterpetition or another pleading in which they make an appearance.
When you have an uncontested divorce, since you don’t have issues that you are disagreeing with your soon to be ex-spouse about, you usually won’t have any need for temporary hearings to get temporary orders. And, sometimes with uncontested divorces they can be finished very quickly and that means they can be much less expensive. And, sometimes, when everything moves really smoothly, an uncontested divorce can finish right after the waiting period is over – on day 61 after filing the Original Petition for Divorce.
So there are some benefits to an uncontested divorce. And, as always, find an experienced family law attorney to work with you.