A mutual consent divorce is the quickest and easiest way to end a marriage. Both spouses agree to everything – the division of assets and debts, alimony, child custody, child support and visitation — before ever entering a courtroom. There is nothing to fight about, the court only needs to sign off on the agreement the parties already signed.
In most jurisdictions, the parties complete a single consent petition, which tells the court both parties want the divorce and there are no contested issues. The consent petition must be signed by both parties and notarized before being filed in the local county courthouse.
Most jurisdictions require a consent property settlement and parenting plan to accompany the consent petition. The property settlement details division of all the real and personal property owned by the parties and any spousal support the parties have decided upon; the parenting plan describes support and visitation for any minor children. Both documents must be signed by both parties and notarized before they are filed with the petition. Often times they are combined into one, which is referred to as a Marital Settlement Agreement (MSA). This document addressed property issues as well as those related to the child(ren). A motion is then filed to bring the petition before the court, and the judge signs off on the consent petition with a divorce decree to finalize the divorce.
Some jurisdictions require both spouses to appear before the judge so that he may question them and verify that the divorce is indeed by mutual consent. Other jurisdictions require only petitioner to appear and present the paperwork. Either way, once the judge is satisfied, he or she signs off on the divorce, and the divorce is granted.