Is an Uncontested Divorce Your Best Option?

By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on February 01, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Ending a marriage doesn't necessarily mean you need to fight with a spouse. Some couples may choose to divorce amicably. Perhaps their relationship simply doesn't work. Maybe both partners have fallen out of love. That is when couples may choose to file for an uncontested divorce.

Divorce laws vary depending on what state you're in. But typically, uncontested divorce refers to a case in which both parties agree to the split.

You'll then have to put your agreement into writing.

Uncontested Divorce Basics

In an uncontested divorce, the divorcing couple usually already has their basic divorce agreement hammered out. This means they aren't disputing important issues such as property division or the payment of alimony.

There are potential benefits to filing for an uncontested divorce. The process is usually faster. For the parties involved, this means a reduced cost in legal bills and in court fees. And the marriage can often be dissolved much quicker than in contested divorce proceedings. This is because most of the major issues are already squared away.

...But Not So Fast

Of course, uncontested divorces are not for everybody. If one party challenges any aspect of the divorce or files paperwork against the proceedings, the divorce will become contested. For example, this can happen if one spouse wants to dispute the division of marital property.

And in some states, uncontested divorces simply are not an option for couples that have children. Additional paperwork would need to be completed regardless.

A Lawyer's Role in the Process

Couples who choose to pursue an uncontested divorce often try to draft their own divorce agreement (here's an example of one) and seek an attorney to look it over. But in many cases, lawyers will be reluctant to "sign off" on a document that they didn't draft themselves.

Even if both spouses feel like they agree on everything, it's generally wise for each spouse to retain a separate lawyer for individual legal advice before entering into a divorce agreement. That way, each spouse can rest assured his or her interests are protected in the long run.

A divorce agreement, of course, is legally binding, so you'll want to carefully consider the consequences of each and every term that you agree to. Check out FindLaw's section on How to Divorce for more information about uncontested divorce and other potential ways to end your marriage.

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