Divorce is a sensitive topic filled with layers of emotions. While it can be challenging to discuss, it's a reality many Americans may face at some point in their lives. Recent statistics show that the current divorce rate in the US is about 50% of the marriage rate. If a divorce from your spouse is something you're considering, you should know about the concept of an uncontested divorce.
Unlike an adversarial divorce, a situation in which the two parties cannot agree on dividing assets or determining custody for children, an uncontested divorce is a simplified proceeding for those parties who are in agreement about the separation and the issues affected by the divorce.
Wondering if an uncontested divorce is right for you? Here are five points to think about:
- You are aware of all property/assets and can agree on property division
You're fully knowledgeable of all past and present assets your spouse holds (meaning there isn't a fear of secret real estate or a hidden bank account), and if you and your spouse agree on how to divide everything up, then an uncontested divorce may make sense. No one likes unexpected twists in divorce proceedings so it's important to be on the same page in terms of assets and how they are to be divided.
- You can agree on custody
If there are minor children from the relationship, custody of them has the potential to become a contentious issue. However, agreeing on a custody arrangement that works for both parties can open the door to an uncontested divorce and save the family unnecessary drama—and even help build future relationships.
- You want the process to go through quickly and move on to life post-divorce
Since an uncontested divorce requires less time from all parties (and if lawyers are not involved, less money), it can be a good option if you want divorce proceedings to be over quickly. Concentrating on living life post-divorce may alleviate some of the stress during the process.
- You want to minimize the cost of divorce
In addition to spending less time and money on the divorce, an uncontested divorce makes sense if the combined value of the couple's assets doesn't justify the costs of going through a more involved and expensive legal procedure.
- You want to make an effort to end things amicably
An uncontested divorce doesn't necessarily mean the couple agrees on everything from the get-go, but the process does require being on the same page as the terms of the divorce get close to being finalized. While the negotiating of terms will move the process along, simply going through this type of divorce signifies that the two parties want to focus on a speedy conclusion and be the ones making settlement decisions—which can be especially important if children are part of the picture, as reducing their exposure to family drama can help pave the way for positive future relationships.
An uncontested divorce makes sense if the couple is making an effort to dissolve the marriage on good terms with minimal court time, legal fees and family drama. Divorce and filing laws can vary from state to state, so be sure to check with your state's court system for full details.
If you're considering an uncontested divorce, check out LegalZoom's online divorce service for just that, which might help ease the process during this difficult time. Above all, be sure to consult the important people in your life before making critical decisions about your marriage.