The Uncontested Divorce
The Simple Divorce
An uncontested divorce is one in which the parties involved have, by themselves, that is without the help of the court, worked out the important issues pertaining to the divorce; for example, division of property, child custody and child support issues. Anyone has the right to file a divorce complaint without an attorney. However, you should be aware that there are very important legal ramifications to any particular situation and that the advice of legal counsel is always the wisest choice. No Matter what, you should always seek legal advice from an attorney for the Drafting of Orders and/or your Final Judgment of Divorce.
When There are Children Involved
If the uncontested divorce involves minor children, the case will most likely be referred to an office of the court which will conduct interviews and recommend who will receive custody of the child(ren), what type of custody is in the best interest of the child(ren), and the amount of child support to be paid. In the event that there is an objection to the ruling by one of the parties (the spouses getting the divorce), you will want to consult an attorney to represent your legal interests. At this point your divorce is no longer uncontested. Assuming that no objections are filed by either side and you are continuing to represent yourself, the case will typically proceed to court.
Spousal Support, Pension Plans and Property Division
If you are asking for spousal support (alimony) or a share of the defendant’s pension plan, you should seek advice of an attorney. It is probable that a defendant will contest property settlements that include spousal support (alimony) or pension plans. At this point your divorce may no longer be uncontested. It is recommended that you both hire lawyers and/or a mediator to aid in the negotiation in order to reach a settlement. If the issue is not resolved until the actual trial, the judge assigned to the case may be forced to make the decision.
In most situations, self-representation is not the best choice. If you feel unable to handle this matter on your own, it is advisable that you consult with an attorney and/or mediator before proceeding with your divorce.
Unable to Locate Spouse
If you are unable to locate your spouse to get a divorce, there are procedures for this situation. This type of circumstance occurs quite often, especially when spouses have been separated for long periods of time. Consulting with an attorney is recommended, due to the unique procedures that must take place for the Final Judgment for Divorce to be approved by the court.
Useful Online Tools
Resources & Tools
INNOCENT SPOUSE RULE -- Section 434(c)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code protects an innocent spouse from tax fraud prosecution under certain conditions. This rule mainly protects women who innocently sign returns while married to men who controlled the finances. An innocent spouse can be protected from liability if 1) a joint return was filed, 2) the return contains a "grossly erroneous" error, 3) he or she establishes "lack of knowledge," and 4) it is "inequitable" to impose the tax on him or her.
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