Alternatives to a Litigated Divorce: Uncontested Divorce
This blog is part of a series of posts discussing potential alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”) processes that parties can use instead of going to court. As a litigated divorce ending in a trial can often be expensive, emotionally grueling, and time consuming due to court scheduling, more and more people are turning to potential alternative methods for settling their family law cases.
When parties agree on all or most of the issues in their divorce, they may choose try for an “Uncontested Divorce” and to file a “Joint Petition for Divorce” with all of the necessary documents to effectuate their divorce, which may include a Final Decree, Financial Affidavits, a Vital Statistics Form, a Uniform Support Order, Parenting Plan, and Child Support Guidelines worksheets. Having an attorney work with you can expedite this process and help ensure that all of the required Court forms are completed quickly and correctly.
The Uncontested Divorce process generally fall into two categories:
1. If you and your spouse agree about everything, our attorneys may meet with one of you at an initial consultation to discuss your case and to understand the details of your agreement so that it may be drafted in a way that a Court will sign off on and approved. Then, we will work on the required documents and send them to you for your approval. Once the documents are completed and approved by you, we will meet with you in our office again to obtain your signature. We then send the documents to your spouse for their signature. Once your spouse returns the documents to us, we then file the completed settlement package with the Court. Then, depending on the Court’s schedule, your divorce may be approved in a matter of weeks. This is by far the most cost-effective way of getting a divorce. It is important to understand that our attorneys only represent you in this process and cannot represent both you and your spouse.
2. If you and your spouse agree about some things but not everything, we may meet with you at an initial consultation to discuss what the settlement point in your case may be. Then, depending on the details, we may send a “settlement offer” to your spouse as means of settling the divorce in a quick and amicable fashion. If this does not result in a settlement, we may decide to move on to other alternative methods of resolving the case, such as mediation, collaborative divorce, or in some cases move directly to litigation.
Attorneys at Soule, Leslie, Kidder, Sayward & Loughman are experienced in helping clients with the uncontested divorce process. If you have any questions about the uncontested divorce process or about your family law case in general, please feel free to contact us.