More than half a million couples divorce every year in the United States, and at least 90 percent of these divorces are uncontested, according to a Forbes article. An uncontested divorce can mean two things: either one party declines to respond to the divorce and does not show up in court, or both parties agree to all of the divorce terms. Either way, an uncontested divorce is typically faster, simpler, and less costly.
Every divorce begins the same way. One spouse (the petitioner) files a petition for divorce with the court. The other spouse (the respondent) is served with the divorce complaint which details everything the petitioner is asking for in the divorce.
When the original divorce petition is filed, a court date for the initial appearance is scheduled. Typically, this court date is several months after the filing. Between the filing date and the court date, couples can work together to resolve as many issues as possible.
If they agree on all the divorce terms, they will move forward with a settlement. This is an uncontested divorce.
If the respondent fails to respond to the complaint or does not attend the scheduled court appearance, the courts take over. They evaluate the petitioner’s requests and make a decision. In this scenario, the divorce is also considered uncontested.
What Is a Contested Divorce?
It is common for couples to encounter disputes when negotiating divorce terms. If they cannot resolve these issues and come to an agreement, their divorce must be handled in family court.
These cases typically proceed like other civil trials, with both sides permitted to present evidence to support their desired outcome. After weighing the evidence, the judge determines how contested matters are to be resolved and then issues the final judgement of divorce. The marriage is now ended.
What Are the Benefits of an Uncontested Divorce?
If you believe an uncontested divorce is possible, you can save time, money, and stress. If you and your ex-partner agree on the terms of your divorce, your settlement can be filed relatively quickly. A contested divorce can take several months or years to finalize.
Do I Need a Lawyer for an Uncontested Divorce?
It is a common misconception that you do not need a divorce lawyer if you have a good relationship with your ex-partner and have no intention to contest divorce terms. However, legal representation can save you from costly financial and legal mistakes that can impact your future.
Even if your divorce is uncontested, there may still be complex matters to settle. The division of property, child custody, and support are some examples of issues that typically stall a divorce. A skilled divorce lawyer can help your uncontested divorce proceed smoothly to produce a good outcome for all involved.
Also, because some issues are dictated by state divorce law, an attorney’s guidance is essential to ensure your settlement is in accordance with state and federal guidelines. When you hire an experienced lawyer, you have peace of mind knowing your divorce will be resolved as effectively and efficiently as possible.
Chester County Divorce Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Can Achieve a Good Outcome for You
If you are considering a divorce, speak with one of our Chester County divorce lawyers at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. We will advocate for you and protect your rights and interests every step of the way. Call us at 610-565-3701 or contact us online to schedule an appointment. Located in Media and West Chester, Pennsylvania, we serve clients throughout Delaware County, Chester County, and Montgomery County.