S & R Law Firm
When it comes to getting a divorce, much confusion surrounds the numerous terms and procedures used throughout the country including; uncontested divorce, contested divorce and no-fault divorce. Like a good joke, each of these has a different meaning depending on where in the US you happen to be.What is an Uncontested Divorce?
Generally, an uncontested divorce is a divorce where the husband and wife have a written agreement as to the resolution of all major issues, including:
- Child custody
- Visitation or parenting time
- Child support
- Spousal support
- Division of property
- How debt will be divided
- Division of retirement/pension accounts
Benefits of an Uncontested Divorce
An uncontested divorce offers can off separating spouse’s significant benefits including;
- Reduced legal fees
- No court appearance is necessary
- The entire process can generally
- Less stress and fighting because each spouse is in agreement.
- be completed in 90 or less.
There are three main ways in which an uncontested divorce differs from a contested divorce.
First, is the aspect of legal fees. Contested divorces require both parties to hire attorneys in order to fight their battles. Instead of figuring a way to divide the money evenly, the parties spend the bulk of their accumulated assets paying attorneys instead of developing a plan for a new life.
Secondly, you give decision making authority to a Judge. What this means is that you now have little control over decisions in your case. You are allowing a Judge, someone who has never met you until your trial, to make major decisions which will impact the rest of your life. Is this a chance you’re willing to take?
Lastly, the stress, anxiety and combative nature of litigation can drive people to the edge. Not only is your entire life changing due to the divorce, you are now at war with your soon to be ex, a person whom you once loved and now knows all of your most intimate thoughts and secrets, ready to expose them to the entire world at any moment. This extreme level of aggression and fighting has been the cause of many emotional and financial breakdowns while going through a contested divorce.How to Get an Uncontested Divorce
The best way to ensure your divorce goes off without a hitch is to hire a skilled divorce lawyer. Most charge a nominal flat fee to ensure everything is filed correctly within your local court system and that all fees and deadlines are met accordingly.
In Virginia, many counties provide free resources online including:
Generally speaking, the party who starts the divorce action fills out the forms, files them with the county clerk, pays a filing fee and has them served on the other party. Check with the county clerk or with your attorney so the papers are served correctly. Failure to serve divorce papers correctly could mean you have to start all over again and pay a second filing fee for starting another case. However, don’t be discourage if the forms are not completed correctly the first time you fill them out. Most Courts will allow you to amend the forms should it become necessary. Consult with an attorney if you have any doubt about how to fill out, file and serve papers.