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The Divorce Encyclopedia
Uncontested Divorce


Term Definition Uncontested Divorce - a divorce proceeding in which there are no disputes.
Application in Divorce An uncontested divorce does not mean that the parties agree on everything. It means that they have decided to work out their differences themselves rather than have a judge do it for them.

Either party can slow down (or drag out, depending on point of view) a divorce action, and for this reason, one spouse may contest a divorce. Some divorce lawyers build legal strategies to enhance bargaining positions around delays.

Since the 1970s, however, most states have permitted no-fault divorces, where may be either contested or uncontested.

No fault grounds -- either "irreconcilable differences," "irretrievable breakdown" or physical separation -- lend themselves to uncontested divorce.

An uncontested divorce is the route two people can take when for reasons sufficient to themselves they do not wish to be married to each other any longer.

In an uncontested divorce, the parties must take three steps: 1) one spouse must file the initial paperwork to set the action in motion and have it served on the other spouse; 2) the couple must negotiate a marital settlement agreement that defines and describes the terms and conditions of a) property distribution, and if applicable b) spousal and child support and c) visitation; and 3) they must complete and file the final papers, including the separation agreement, with the court.

The first and third steps are mechanical and formalistic. The second step can be very difficult, but if the couple can do it for themselves, they can save a great deal of money. Some couples can negotiate the second step before they go about the first one.

One of the advantages of an uncontested divorce is that the couple can handle most of the action pro se and thus save a great deal of money.

See also Summary Divorce; Default Divorce

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