Pros and Cons of an Uncontested Divorce

Authored by , LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

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What is an Uncontested Divorce? 

An Uncontested Divorce is where both spouses agree to divorce, and have no outstanding disagreements concerning basic divorce issues such as maintenance and property division. Filing for uncontested divorce usually does not involve any major court hearings, and can result in less paperwork and other procedures. 

In contrast, a contested divorce is where one or both parties cannot reach an agreement on any of the major divorce issues. Unlike uncontested divorces, which can take as little as one month in some states, a contested divorce can be a complex process. Contested divorces can involve several months and much back-and-forth communication between the parties. However with both types of divorce, it is common for only one spouse to initiate the divorce proceedings. 

Who is Eligible for Uncontested Divorce?

Uncontested divorce is generally available only for those couples who mutually agree on the decision to divorce one another. In addition, the spouses need to reach at least a basic understanding regarding major issues such as spousal support, property division, and child custody/visitation schedules. 

One spouse will usually initiate the paperwork for uncontested divorce, and if the other spouse agrees, a judge will grant the divorce using streamlined court procedures. Also, depending on the factors of the situation, the couple may be eligible for other types of divorce mechanisms such as a summary dissolution.

On the other hand, if one spouse does not agree to divorce, then of course the divorce is no longer “uncontested”. In these situations, the couple will have to utilize normal contested divorce court proceedings, which can take much longer. 

What are some of the Pros and Cons of Uncontested Divorce?

Uncontested divorce has many advantages over traditional divorce proceedings, such as:

Thus, uncontested divorce can be of assistance in circumstances where the couple must act immediately or make significant life changes within a short period of time. This is especially true where the health/safety of a child or spouse has become endangered.

However, uncontested divorce may not be suitable in all situations. Some of the main drawbacks of uncontested divorce include:

Do I Need a Lawyer for Uncontested Divorce Proceedings?

A couple that is considering filing for uncontested divorce should weigh the advantages and disadvantages of doing so. While the process is relatively more straight-forward compared to other divorce categories, it may still be necessary to hire a lawyer for consultation. This is especially true if the other spouse is represented by an attorney. A divorce lawyer can assist with preparing the necessary paperwork, and can provide legal representation in the event that unforeseen circumstances arise.

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Last Modified: 05-12-2014 03:40 PM PDT

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