What is an Uncontested Divorce?
An uncontested divorce is a divorce where there are no disputes over the division of property, support, or child custody. It occurs when either both parties are in agreement regarding all the issues or where one party chooses not to participate in the divorce. This type of divorce is much less expensive than a contested divorce – even a contested divorce that uses mediation or collaborative law. When both parties are in agreement, I charge a flat fee rather than an hourly rate. If both parties are capable of being fair with each other – this type of divorce is the least traumatic and expensive. But, be careful; an uncontested divorce can be used by an unscrupulous spouse to obtain a judgment that is completely unfair and one-sided. The information below also applies to obtaining uncontested judgments of paternity.
There are four types:
1. True Default
One party files and serves a petition for divorce and the required financial information (Declaration of Disclosure) but the other party does not respond and a judgment is entered without the signature of the non-filing spouse.
2. Default With Stipulated Judgment
One party files and serves a Petition and Summons for divorce with the understanding that both parties are going to agree on the contents of the judgment based on what is requested in the Petition. Both parties serve each other with the required financial information (Declaration of Disclosure) and sign the judgment to indicate their agreement.
3. Stipulated Judgment
One party files and serves a Summons and Petition for divorce and the other party files and serves a Response. Both parties are in agreement and sign a stipulated judgment.
4. Summary Dissolution
Intended by our state legislature to be the easiest and least expensive divorce. This is not always the case. Must qualify based on short marriage, few assets or debts, no children or real property – close cooperation of the parties is a must!
It depends on your individual situation as to which of the above is best in your case.