At the heart of every divorce are issues regarding the division of property, division of debt, child custody and the payment of child and/or spousal support. In an uncontested divorce, you and your spouse reach an agreement without going to court. This process will typically move through the system more efficiently.
Instead of appearing in court for the matter, you will file court forms and a "divorce settlement agreement" that details the agreements you've made on your own. Your settlement, and your final divorce, will have to be approved by a judge. Generally, the judge will approve a settlement unless it's clear to the judge that the terms of the agreement are unfair to one person or if one person was under pressure during the decision-making process.
Why consider an uncontested divorce?
It is important to remember that the divorce process will depend on the situation. Some divorces may run smoother than others, for instance, if you don't have kids. It also helps if each spouse is self-sufficient. A contested divorce can be very expensive as you typically pay based on the time spent on the divorce.
With an uncontested divorce, you can save a lot of money if you decide on the terms of the agreement without an attorney. Avoiding court can benefit everyone. This is especially true when children are involved. You'll want to keep the child's best interest in mind and maintaining an amicable relationship with your ex can encourage a positive home environment.
When is an uncontested divorce not the best option?
Any couple who finds it difficult to communicate should be wary about considering an uncontested divorce. Additionally, if there is any imbalance of power within the relationship, legal counsel should be present. Mediation may be a better option for couples who have complex issues regarding their finances, children or property.
As with any legal process, uncontested divorces have advantages and disadvantages. It can save a considerable amount of money and time, but is not a decision to make lightly. A regular, contested divorce, may benefit couples who are not entirely secure in their positions.