Uncontested Divorce Laws

In the United States, Divorce Laws are generally formulated and enforced by the state and not as much by the federal government.  Though in recent years, new federal laws are beginning to impact the rights and responsibilities of both parties. So, a couple applying for a divorce will come under the purview of the state in which they reside.

What is it?

An uncontested divorce is a situation where one party wants to get out of the relationship.  This is the option many people choose – by filing the paperwork on their own and saving on lawyer fees. 

Requirements:

There is a minimum period of residence which has to be fulfilled before people can apply for a divorce.  A county court Family Judge is the person who will hear the petitioners. 

Advantages:

  1. Cost: Divorces can get expensive if both parties drag out the process.  The money involved is better used to live on and also to support the children.
  2. Privacy: The divorce will be in public records, though a lot of decisions reached can be kept private.  Negotiations can bring about an agreement acceptable to both parties.
  3. Control: Both parties can stay in control by reaching the right decisions about money, children and assets. Negotiations help in these matters.  Many issues can be amicably settled using a mediator.
  4. Separate Attorneys:  It is always a good idea to get separate lawyers to avoid conflict of interest.

Disadvantages:

  1. This can be a bad idea when there is domestic violence involved.  One party is not in a position to negotiate.  In such cases, an advocate is needed.
  2. When the two parties are not willing or able to talk to each other, this can be difficult.  Negotiating with patience is the only way to deal in this situation.
  3. Both parties should be willing to let go of some things – greed can hurt the process.

How it Works:

  1. Separate Lawyers: Ethics prevent one lawyer from representing both parties. 
  2. Informed Decisions: Both parties need to be well informed about issues before they approach a lawyer – hire him or her only for what they can do.
  3. Key Issues: The lawyer will explain to his client what the key issues in the divorce process are and what options are available.  Then all the necessary paperwork is put together for both parties to sign.
  4. Filing:  The papers are then filed with the court. Both parties appear before the court and the divorce is eventually finalized.

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