Uncontested divorce: All you need to know
You and your spouse have realized that your marriage is more like a friendship than anything else, which is a good thing (as most couples who choose to get divorced end things badly), but the only problem is that it feels like you’re coming home to a sibling.
The spark is just gone, and you both decide to part ways on amicable terms.
Arguments are not really a problem, and you both agree on property division, child custody, and alimony.
If this sounds like you as a couple, it means that you will be able to have an uncontested divorce.
In this article, we will discuss all you need to know about an uncontested divorce.
What is an uncontested divorce?
An uncontested divorce means that you and your spouse agree on your divorce. You agree to all the terms and conditions, such as how to divide your assets, debts, property, and even spousal support.
If you have minor children, you and your spouse also agree on custody, alimony, and visiting times with the kids.
Usually, with an uncontested dissolution of marriage, you do not need to appear before a judge in court.
This is very different from a contested divorce, in which couples do not agree on some things during their divorce proceedings. With a contested divorce, a lawyer is usually needed, and cases typically go to trial.
How much does an uncontested divorce cost?
One of the significant benefits of an uncontested divorce is that it is affordable compared to a contested divorce.
Did you know that the average cost of an uncontested dissolution of marriage in the USA is $4,100. That is if there are no significant issues or disagreements. Compare this to the average cost of a contested divorce, which is $12,900.
One of the reasons it is more affordable is that you can get away with not using a lawyer. You also don’t need to go to trial, and you can even make use of online divorce services, which will bring the cost of the proceedings down even more.
How can you file for an uncontested divorce?
Filing for a dissolution of marriage doesn’t have to be complicated. Depending on your needs and what you feel comfortable with, you can file for a divorce in 2 ways.
- Use of a lawyer
- Get a DIY divorce
Option 1: Using a lawyer
If you do choose to use a lawyer, just be aware that they charge per hour. Some might even charge you for a phone call, an email, or even if you ask them a basic question. Therefore, be sure to ask what your lawyer charges for before you use them.
The cost per hour for divorce lawyers in the USA varies from $100 – $700. One recent study showed that 35% of respondents paid $300 per hour.
You might feel more comfortable with a lawyer preparing your divorce papers and helping you with any questions you might have, especially if you have minor children.
Option 2: DIY divorce
A DIY divorce has become a very popular option for many couples, as it is quick and cheap.
How does a DIY divorce work, you might ask? The easiest way of explaining it is that you would use an online divorce service to prepare your paperwork for you.
The most basic package starts at $139 and works its way up to about $400. It depends on whether or not you would like the company to file your paperwork for you.
Filing for divorce online is also fast because you will receive your documents within two days max.
You can only make use of a web divorce if your proceedings are uncontested. You will be asked a few simple questions to see if you qualify, such as:
- Do you know the location of your spouse?
- Which state are you filing from?
- Do you agree on how to divide your assets and debts?
You can also file for an online divorce if you have children, but remember that you and your spouse will need to agree on child custody and child support.
The company will then prepare your paperwork for you according to your specific needs. Once completed, you will receive your documentation to file at your local clerk’s office.
(Remember, there will be a filing fee, which differs from state to state, but most filing fees are between $200 and $400)
If you don’t want to use an online divorce service, you could also download the documents from the state’s website (Not all states offer this service, though).
But be aware that this can be tedious and confusing, as there will be tons of paperwork to go through to find the right forms.
And if you file the wrong documents, you will have to start the process all over again, which will cost extra money and cause added stress.
What are the pros and cons of an uncontested divorce?
- Less stressful
- You can use an online divorce service
- No need for a lawyer
- You do not have to go to trial
- You might not get exactly what you want out of your proceedings.
- Without a lawyer, you might not understand everything you’re signing in the documentation, which could affect your future.
- If domestic violence is a problem in the marriage, the abusive spouse will get more than what they actually deserve. The innocent mate might need a lawyer to help them.
An uncontested divorce is much cheaper than a contested divorce, and it is an excellent option for couples who wish to end their marriage on a good note. But this is not an option for couples who can’t agree or with abusive marriages.
Divorce is a serious decision and should never be taken lightly.
Story by Awais Ahmed