An uncontested divorce, one in which both spouses agree on all issues regarding the divorce, can have emotional and financial benefits for a couple who decides to end their marriage. Although it isn’t always easy, working with your spouse to come to an amicable agreement on the terms of your divorce can make this difficult time less painful for the whole family, especially if you and your spouse have minor children.
What is an uncontested divorce?
When you get an uncontested divorce, both parties must come to a written agreement on all aspects of the divorce, without asking a judge to rule on any issues. There are a lot of discussions that must be had, such as deciding visitation rights and parental responsibilities going forward, as well as child support and other financial decisions like alimony and the division of debts and property. If you and your spouse can come to a firm, written agreement (commonly known as a marital settlement agreement) as to how all these responsibilities and assets will be divided and handled, you can proceed with an uncontested divorce.
With a signed agreement, a couple with minor children who have been separated for a minimum of one (1) full year can file for an uncontested divorce with their local Circuit Court. So long as these requirements are met and all legal case forms have been properly completed, a judge will sign a Final Order granting the couple a divorce without need for a formal court hearing of any kind.
Benefits of an uncontested divorce
While not every situation will allow for an uncontested divorce, those who proceed with it will find it can provide many benefits, both emotionally and financially, for the whole family.
More control over child custody and visitation arrangements
When it comes to child custody, getting an uncontested divorce gives you the most power in the decision-making process. While you will still have to file your agreement with your local court, you’ll be able to create and control your own plans to ensure that any decisions made will be what’s best for your family.
As long as you and your spouse are able to communicate efficiently, you can mutually decide how visitation schedules should be set, how much money needs to be paid for child support, who will get custody, and where each party will live, rather than leaving that decision up to a judge who may not understand your family’s situation and needs as deeply as you do.
Potentially reduced emotional toll on the family
Divorce can cause tremendous emotional stress for everybody in the family. An uncontested divorce alleviates some of that stress by leaving the third parties out of it and speeding up the entire divorce process, rather than arguing in lengthy court sessions over the span of months.
By working things out in a mature and peaceful manner, children won’t feel so distressed, as they can be left out of the arguments that can come with these tough decisions. This calmer environment allows the family to have a smoother transition into their new life and to remain calm when navigating this difficult process.
Can save time and money
If you and your spouse agree on all divorce matters, an uncontested divorce will likely be the most affordable and efficient option for you. Getting an uncontested divorce means you won’t be spending money and time on court hearings, which often require missing days of work, paying for travel expenses, finding caretakers to watch the children, and more. For this reason, it is also often easier to represent yourself in an uncontested divorce.
Although it’s less work than going to court, an uncontested divorce still requires time, effort, and paperwork. We recommend enlisting the help of a legal coach like My Legal Case Coach to look things over and make sure you’re working toward the best outcome. We offer easy-to-use, comprehensive form packets, including high quality model marital settlement agreements for couples with or without minor children, as well as the option to set up affordable, ongoing 1:1 legal coaching services with a licensed Virginia attorney to help you every step of the way.
Virginia residents can schedule a free 15-minute consultation call to learn more about how our services can help you.