Uncontested Divorce

WHAT IS AN UNCONTESTED DIVORCE?

There are two ways to achieve an uncontested divorce. First, you can achieve an uncontested divorce when you and your spouse agree on every aspect of the separation. This means that no one is blaming the other for the divorce, and the divorce is a mutual decision. Furthermore, both individuals must agree on how you are going to divide the property; you must agree on the amount of child support to be paid; you must agree on the amount of spousal support that is going to be paid. Basically, you both must agree on everything. Second, you can achieve an uncontested divorce if you file a divorce, and there is no answer from your spouse after they have been served the divorce papers. Essentially, this is an uncontested divorce by default.

HOW TO FILE FOR DIVORCE

The steps to file for uncontested divorce are relatively straightforward. There are 10 steps that should be followed:

  1. Fill out your Original Petition for Divorce. This is the form that informs the court and your spouse that you want a divorce.
  2. Make 2 copies of the completed Petition. One copy is for your records, the other copy should be used to give your spouse legal notice.
  3. Take the Original Petition for Divorce and the 2 copies to the District Clerk’s Office to be filed. You will have to pay a filing fee.
  4. Give your spouse legal notice. There are three ways you can give legal notice. One option is to give your spouse the file-stamped copy of the Original Petition and a Waiver of Citation form and they sign them in front of a notary. The second option is official service by mail or in person. For this option, a process server will give notice to your spouse, either by mail or in person. (Note: If your spouse is in jail, do not use official service by mail. Your spouse should be personally served.) The last option is service by publication or posting. You should only use this method of service if your spouse cannot be located.
  5. Wait 61 days from the time you filed you Original Petition. In most cases, you must wait at least 61 days from the day your Original Petition was filed. (Note: This 61 day waiting period can be waived in some cases of domestic violence.)
  6. Determine if the case is uncontested before proceeding. You will be able to tell whether or not your spouse is contesting the divorce from their response after you serve them with the divorce papers. If you and your spouse agree on what to put in your divorce decree, your spouse has signed a waiver of answer, and your spouse is willing to sign the Decree of Divorce, the divorce is uncontested.
  7. Find out when the court hears uncontested divorces.
  8. Write your Decree of Divorce. This is the order that the judge will sign to grant your divorce. This is also the document that outlines who will keep what property, and who will pay what. If you and your spouse have children, this will dictate who makes decisions about the children, which parent pays child support, etc.
  9. Have your spouse sign the decree of divorce.
  10. Go to court, and then file the signed decree in the District Clerk’s office.
CONSULT AN ATTORNEY

Divorce is a stressful and emotional time for those involved. The unknown is intimidating and difficult to maneuver on your own. If you are currently in the midst of a divorce, or if you know a divorce is inevitable, the professionals at Guest and Gray Law Firm can help. It is better to have the answers, and know the different avenues that your case could take than to try and navigate these hard times alone.

Uncontested divorces can seem simple to handle on your own; however, situations arise where it is best to have an attorney handle your affairs. In circumstances where children are involved, or where there will be division of marital property, it is best to consult a divorce attorney before trying to handle the situation singlehandedly. If you do decide to try and handle the divorce on your own, it is wise to have an attorney look over your final decree to determine if all of your bases are covered, and that your property has been divided properly.