What Is an Uncontested Divorce?
Written by: Megan Dell
A lot of people say that they are seeking a lawyer for an uncontested divorce, but what does that mean?
Quite simply, both spouses have to agree on the terms of the divorce. Why is that so hard? First of all, it’s difficult to get two people who have decided they no longer want to be married to each other to agree on much of anything. And on top of that, people don’t know all the things they have to agree on – so often they think they have an agreement, but some detail comes up that they didn’t discuss.
Here’s a list of things that generally have to be agreed upon for a divorce to be uncontested:
1. Grounds for divorce
First, either you or your spouse has to have grounds for seeking a divorce. There are four fault grounds: adultery, physical cruelty, habitual drunkenness or drug use, or desertion. The alternative is the no-fault ground of continuous separation for more than one year, which is most commonly used for uncontested divorces.
2. Division of Assets and Debts
In a nutshell, who gets what? Who will get to keep the house? Who will keep each car? Who will be responsible for paying off the credit card debts? In some cases, a married couple has no assets and no debts; this is obviously very easy to divide.
Will one spouse receive alimony? How much? How often? Until when? Will one spouse continue paying for the other’s health insurance or other miscellaneous expenses? What will be the tax consequences?
4. Custody and Visitation
Who will get to make decisions for the children? Who will the children spend the most time with, and what will the parenting schedule be? The details of custody and visitation can be the most complicated issue to work out in an uncontested divorce.
5. Child Support
Will one parent pay the other child support? How much? Will it be paid directly to the other parent, or through the Clerk of Court? Who will provide health insurance for the children? Who will pay any medical expenses not covered by insurance?
This may seem like a straightforward list of issues in an uncontested divorce – so why can it be so difficult? Because an uncontested divorce requires that both spouses agree on each and every term. If one spouse stops agreeing, then it is no longer an uncontested divorce.
To schedule a consultation with our uncontested divorce lawyer, contact us today.