Uncontested divorce occurs when both parties come to a full agreement on all issues, including issues on time-sharing, parental responsibility, child support, alimony, distribution of marital assets and liabilities, etc.
If the parties are able to agree on all issues, one party is able to draft the Petition, Marital Settlement Agreement, Parenting Plan (if there are children) and present it to their spouse.
The spouse would have to agree to and sign the Marital Settlement Agreement and Parenting Plan.
The spouse would also have to file an Answer. Once this occurs, one of the parties would file all the documents with the Court and request one final hearing to have the court approve the process.
It is important to understand that prior to signing any settlement agreements, the parties should always complete Financial Affidavits fully disclosing all income, assets and debts. Failure to do so or properly disclose all information can result in the agreements that were reached being set aside.
Please also keep in mind that the Court will generally approve any agreements the parties have agreed upon. However, when it comes to the issue of child support, the Court generally will not approve any child support figure that is not calculated properly by guidelines.
Even when a divorce is uncontested, it is important to have a properly drafted Marital Settlement Agreement and Parenting Plan (when there are minor children).
Poorly drafted agreement(s) cause future problems and can end up in expensive post dissolution litigation, as well as result in unfavorable or unanticipated outcome.
It is for this reason that it is suggested that an attorney be retained to assist with the drafting of the Marital Settlement Agreement and Parenting Plan.
Retaining an attorney to draft these documents can result in fractions of the cost that you could save in post dissolution protracted litigation.
In addition, family law attorneys deal with dissolution issues on a daily basis. There are often issues that the parties themselves are not aware of that should be included in settlement agreements.