An uncontested divorce simply means both spouses are in agreement regarding the major issues involved in the divorce. It does not, however, mean the divorce will be simple or the union easily dissolved with just a few signatures. Unfortunately, it is never that easy.
In order for a judge to consider an uncontested divorce, all of the marital issues that come up during divorce proceedings such division of property and childcare will have to be resolved. We have been through hundreds of uncontested divorce petitions and they require a lot of paperwork. However, we handle most of it for you to ensure that there are no accidental errors that could lengthen the process.
An uncontested divorce works best when both parties focus on fair negotiations and mutual respect, however, there are some criteria that must be met in order for couples to be suitable for an uncontested divorce.
Other marital issues that must be agreed upon:
- Parenting Plan – how parenting time and responsibilities will be shared
- Child Support and Custody – the amount and duration of child support and custody
- Alimony – the amount and duration of spousal support
- Division of property
- Division of any debt
The family law system in Florida puts the needs and safety of children above anything else, so divorcing couples with children can begin the process by agreeing on an acceptable parenting plan. It is important to make sure that as parents, your decision to dissolve the marriage will have a minimal effect on the lives of your children.
It is not necessary for spouses to agree on every small detail concerning child support, division of debt, or any other factors of the divorce, but they must have a basic initial agreement as well as a willingness to negotiate the rest. Florida law also requires that at least one spouse must have lived in Florida for a minimum of 6 months prior to filing for an uncontested divorce.
How an Uncontested Divorce Works
Uncontested divorces are typically less contentious than contested divorces where the couple presents their case in front of a judge who ultimately decides how to divide property, arrange child custody, and resolve any additional disputes.
In an uncontested divorce, however, the spouses will meet to discuss the terms of their divorce, usually with the help of their respective divorce attorneys and even third-party mediator. Both spouses can express their wishes, and wherever they do not agree they can negotiate until they find an arrangement that works for both parties.
What are the benefits of an uncontested divorce?
It most circumstances, an uncontested divorce is easier than a contested divorce because it leaves full control of the situation in the hands of the divorcing couple. If they are unable to agree with the mediator’s suggestions, the couple can continue negotiating until both parties are satisfied.
Benefits of an Uncontested Divorce:
- Less expensive than a contested divorce
- The process is faster than a contested divorce
- The spouses retain control instead of a judge
- An uncontested divorce is more private
- Less contentious and stressful
Perhaps the biggest benefit of an uncontested divorce is the effect it can have on your children. Contested divorces can be difficult for children, especially if their parents disagree and become hostile or angry. However, with an uncontested divorce, parents are able to work together to dissolve their marriage and can minimize stress by keeping things civil. Also, because the uncontested divorce process is often shorter and less time consuming, it leaves parents with more time to spend with their kids.
Mark Flaherty & Angela Flaherty are Sarasota, Florida divorce attorneys committed to providing professional and experienced advice and counsel during these times. Call us today at (314) 801-8488 or fill out our online contact form to let us assess your situation and help you determine if an uncontested divorce is the right choice for you. Our experienced family law attorneys will work with you and your family each step of the way to help you resolve issues regarding child custody, child support, spousal support, property division, pre- and post-martial agreements, and more. Call us today at (941) 706-2860 or fill out our online contact form to request a free and private consultation.