Divorce is never easy, but there is an easier and less costly way to take care of the paperwork as long as you and your spouse agree on a few major issues. With an uncontested divorce, you can legally end your marriage and begin to move on with your life.
Click on the forward and back arrows to the right for a general overview of the divorce process (steps may vary by state).
The spouse initiating the divorce prepares a petition for a divorce. If you're the petitioning spouse, you create, review, sign and notarize (if required) the petition.
You and your spouse come to an agreement on (1) how to divide your property and assets and (2) arrangements for any children. LegalZoom will create a marital settlement agreement, which will be filed with the court.
Next, you file the signed petition at the courthouse in the county where you live. LegalZoom provides you with easy-to-follow instructions.
When you receive your divorce documents that have been officially stamped by the court, a copy of the documents is delivered to your spouse.
Your spouse signs the documents, then returns them to you to file with the court.
Although there is no court trial in an uncontested divorce, a hearing before a judge may be required to finalize the divorce. The court will provide this information to you.
The last step in an uncontested divorce is when the final judgment of divorce is entered. This sometimes requires a short court hearing.
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You can speak to an attorney through our Personal Legal Plan.* The kinds of questions you can ask include:
An uncontested divorce is one in which both parties agree to the divorce and the terms of the settlement without going to trial. This does not mean there are no arguments or disputes between the spouses. It simply means the spouses reach an agreement without going to court and having a judge resolve contested issues.
Uncontested divorces move much faster through the court system and are therefore less expensive. In addition, bypassing the lengthy litigation and trial process tends to reduce hostility and allows the former spouses to move on with their lives more quickly.
If the divorce is uncontested and a marital settlement agreement is filed, the spouses may not need to go to court. In that case, all legal documents can be filed with the court, and the judgment can be sent to you. However, the court may request a short hearing and ask a few questions about the facts described in the papers.
Disputes regarding the division of property, child custody, spousal support or any other terms of the divorce do not automatically require court intervention. In many cases, they can be resolved through arbitration, mediation or third-party negotiation (such as an attorney).
The filing fee for a divorce petition or complaint is approximately $100-$350 in most counties. It may cost an additional $100-$350 to file a response to the petition. These fees are collected by the government and are in addition to any service or legal fees. The filing fees are in addition to the amount charged by LegalZoom.
On average, there is a zero to six-month waiting period, depending on your state, after the initial divorce petition is filed and served on the other spouse before a divorce becomes final. A judge may make a final ruling, or judgment, on the divorce prior to that date. This order will be effective immediately. However, the marriage is not finally dissolved, and the spouses may not re-marry, until after the waiting period.
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