What is An Uncontested Divorce And How to Proceed With It
Updated: Dec 28, 2022
If both spouses agree on all of their divorce-related issues like child custody, child-support, property distribution, and alimony, and decide not to go to trial regarding these issues, the divorce is considered Uncontested.
Requirements for an Uncontested Divorce
Depending upon the state, an uncontested divorce has certain requirements.
RESIDENCY- Some states, such as Florida, have residency requirements that a couple needs to meet. In Florida, there is 6 months minimum residency requirement.
FILE PETITION- To obtain an uncontested divorce you must file a petition for dissolution of marriage in the appropriate circuit court. Different states have different requirements for the grant of a divorce which have to be mentioned in your petition and proven with evidence. In Florida your divorce petition must include as the basis of your divorce one of the following: (1) the marriage is irretrievably broken or (2) One of the parties is mentally incapacitated.
CHILD SUPPORT: If children are involved in a divorce in the state of Florida, child support must be addressed by the court. Child support generally cannot be waived in a divorce involving children.
Getting an Uncontested Divorce
Step 1: Discussion With Soon-to-be-ex-spouse
The first step in an uncontested divorce is to discuss it openly with your soon-to-be-ex-spouse. It is the hallmark of an uncontested divorce that the couple mutually agrees to get divorced and they decide all the divorce-related issues out of court. However, it is still possible to obtain an uncontested divorce in the state of Florida, even if one of the parties does not want, or agree to, a divorce so long as the party does not contest the pleadings.
Step 2: File A Petition For Divorce
The couple parting ways need to file a petition for divorce with their local court by paying a filing fee. If someone can't afford the filing fee, they can ask the court to waive it by submitting a fee waiver request. Most jurisdictions waive the fee for non-affording people.
Step 3: Submit a Signed Marital Settlement Agreement (MSA)
If there are issues in the divorce, such as custody of children or distribution of property, a Marital Settlement agreement may be advisable and in some situations it may be required.
Step 4: Serve The Divorce Papers To the Spouse
Next, the couple filing for divorce might also need to file additional documents. One applicant is asked to serve the divorce papers on their spouse, and the spouse needs to file a response. In an uncontested divorce, the responding spouse agrees with all of the requests in the divorce petition, as they’ve already been decided.
Step 5: Attend Final Hearing
Some states demand the couple seeking divorce attend a final hearing. Applicants should go prepared to answer a few questions from the judge under oath. This step is carried out by the court to ensure that the couple meets the state's divorce requirements and that they both willingly agree to the terms of the settlement.
In some states, the judge might review the submitted MSA and other documents without a hearing.
Step 6: Receive Final Divorce Judgment
The judge (with or without hearing depending on the state rules) will usually sign the final divorce judgment unless there's a problem. Some states have a waiting period before the divorce can be finalized. This period is usually between one and six months.
Benefits of an Uncontested Divorce
Following are some of the many benefits to filing an uncontested divorce:
Although the filing fees for an uncontested divorce and contested divorce are identical, the uncontested divorce process costs less overall.
Helps Preserve The Relationship
An uncontested divorce will help preserve the relationship between the spouses even after divorce. A bitter divorce can further erode an already damaged relationship. Since an uncontested divorce expects the spouses to work together for a mutual decision, it usually leaves a better relationship in the end and is likely to follow the orders after the divorce is final.
Faster Processing Time
In an uncontested divorce, the judge usually finalizes the divorce faster than in a contested divorce thus resulting in fast processing time.
Less Attorneys Fees
A divorce that goes to trail can get very expensive. An uncontested divorce may save you tens of thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees.
The Time It Takes To Finalize An Uncontested Divorce
It depends on every state's mandatory waiting period before the judge can finalize the divorce. In most cases, couples will only need to wait for their state's waiting period, typically between one and six months to expire. In Florida there is no waiting period. It is possible to finalize a divorce in the state of Florida in a month or two.
Cost Of An Uncontested Divorce
The filing fee that every couple seeking divorce needs to pay to start the legal process varies widely from state to state and county to county. Typically the filing fee ranges between $200 and $400. All states allow a request for a waiver if anyone can't afford to pay the fees.
If unfortunately, you are at the stage of life where you are planning to part ways with your spouse and don't have enough knowledge of legal proceedings, don’t worry, the Law Office of S.A. Peterkin is here to help you during these emotionally tough times. A one-hour Case Evaluation may be able to save you weeks or months of unnecessary headache along your uncontested divorce process.
Call us at 321-325-1125, text us at 321-204-7718, or use our online contact form on our website www.sapeterkinlaw.com to begin scheduling your Case Evaluation with Attorney Peterkin.