There are two types of divorce available in most states: contested divorce and uncontested divorce. A contested divorce means the spouses
cannot come to an agreement on one or more key issues of the divorce and they cannot get through the process without the help of an attorney.
When spouses cannot arrive at an agreement, even with the assistance of their legal counsel, they must rely on the court to make final decisions
regarding the issues of their divorce. In contrast, an uncontested divorce means that the spouses are able to agree on the major issues involved
in getting divorced, including:
1. Division of Property.
Spouses come to an agreement on how their property is divided, including:
- Real estate
- Retirement plans
- Stocks, bonds, mutual funds, money market accounts, or CDs
- Vehicles, including motorcycles, boats, RVs, and motor homes
- Life insurance
- Money in checking and savings accounts
- Money owed to you (lawsuit settlements, tax refunds)
- Collectibles, jewelry, art, antiques
- Household items
- Business interests
It can get confusing deciding who gets what when coming to an agreement about property division, especially when some states are community
property states. For additional help, see Who Gets What in a Divorce?
2. Division of Debt.
Spouses ome to an agreement on who will pay what debts, including:
- Student loans
- Tax obligations
- Support arrearages
- Loans (secured and unsecured)
- Credit cards
3. Spousal Support.
When coming to an agreement on spousal support, the following considerations should be taken into account:
- How each spouse behaved during the marriage.
- Length of marriage.
- Whether each spouse is working or is capable of working.
- How much property each spouse is getting in the divorce.
- Age of each spouse.
- Whether either spouse can pay spousal support.
- Current living situation: earning potential, career prospects, issues involving children.
- The needs of each spouse.
- The health of each spouse.
- The prior standard of living of the spouses and whether either spouse has other people to support.
4. How the spouses will share parenting time and responsibilities if children are involved.
The Ohio Bar Association's Sharing Responsibilities after Separation, has many suggestions for how parents can better manage parenting time.
Who is eligible for uncontested divorce?
When a divorcing couple comes to an agreement on all of the above issues, they are eligible for uncontested divorce. If the other side agrees
to the terms of the divorce, or fails to make an appearance, the uncontested divorce can be granted by the court. If the other spouse does not
agree, an uncontested divorce cannot be granted. The spouses must then rely on negotiations between their attorneys, or the court to make final
determinations regading the issues of the divorce.
What are the advantages of uncontested divorce?
- Cost savings. Most uncontested divorces can be filed without an attorney, so the obvious savings comes in no or reduced attorney fees. Even if a couple hired an attorney for a mediated divorce they would make a huge savings over a contested divorce. Since all of the issues are already agreed on, there are lower court costs as well. Once your divorce papers are purchased and completed, uncontested divorces can often be completed by paying only the court filing fees. Divorcewriter provides you with step-by-step filing instructions for your state-specific divorce papers. You pay $149 and the court filing fees. That’s it.
- Streamlined court process. Uncontested divorces generally move through the court process much quicker than contested divorces due to being able to file fewer forms, fewer court proceedings, and in some states, no need for a hearing.
- Less conflict. Filing for uncontested divorce means that most or all of the issues are agreed upon prior to filing for divorce. There are just much fewer opportunities for conflict to arise in this streamlined process.
- More privacy. Although the divorce papers you file with the court are a matter of public record, the process by which you come to the agreements on the issues of the divorce are not. Nor are the proposals you discuss as you negotiate through the issues. In contrast, in contested divorces, each disclosure and proposal that gets filed with the court in order to reach an agreement, also becomes a matter of public record.
- More likely to stick to your agreements. When spouses negotiate their own agreements, they are more likely to stick to the agreements. The spouse paying support will be more likely to consistently make the payments when he or she has had a part in negotiating the agreement. Research has shown the same is true when it comes to child support payments: they are more likely to be paid, and paid on time, when the paying parent has had a say in the child support and parenting time negotiations.
Do the spouses have to agree on everything before the divorce is filed?
In some cases, when the spouses come to an agreement on all the issues before the divorce is filed, they are eligible to file all the divorce
papers at the beginning of the divorce. This is referred to as a simplified divorce. In most other cases, the divorce paperwork is filed at
different stages throughout the process. If divorcing spouses need to make changes to their divorce paperwork before it is filed, DivorceWriter
is able to accommodate this. When you use DivorceWriter, you are able to make unlimited revisions to your divorce forms at no additional cost.
Updated: March 2015