Divorce is a complex matter. Taking the uncontested route simplifies the process. But how do you know if an uncontested divorce is right for you? What does it mean for a divorce to be uncontested? An uncontested divorce is where you and your spouse agree to all the terms and sign all the necessary documents before filing your case. Then you file the case, and a judge signs off. Below are five reasons you may want to consider an uncontested divorce.
An Uncontested Divorce is Faster
One benefit of an uncontested case is the speed of the process. An uncontested divorce is a lot faster than a contested one. A contested divorce can last many months or even several years. You probably don’t want to be in the divorce process for that long. In comparison, an uncontested divorce can be done in under two months. The first stage is reaching an agreement with your spouse. You and your spouse will need a few weeks to discuss the terms and reach an agreement. Then you’ll need some time to get them drafted by an attorney and sign the paperwork. It can take longer than that, depending on how much you and your spouse have to discuss and how close you are in agreement when you start the discussions.
The second step is filing and finalizing the case. Here in Georgia, we have a 30 day waiting period after the case is filed. This means that once you file, the judge has to wait 30 days before they can sign off and finalize your divorce. You can’t speed up this part of the process, but at least after the case is filed, the hard part is done. Even if your case takes a long for an uncontested divorce, it’s still going to be a lot faster than a contested divorce.
An Uncontested Divorce is Easier
Another benefit of an uncontested divorce is the ease of the experience. Compared to a contested divorce, there is much less to do in an uncontested divorce. Contested litigation can be extremely complicated. You and your attorney may need to file and respond to motions. You could attend (and have to prepare for) multiple court hearings. You might have to go through the dreaded discovery process where you have to give the other side tons of personal records. Going through all these steps can be stressful and overwhelming. But you can avoid all these pieces with an uncontested divorce. With an uncontested divorce, the process is simple. There are two steps: reach an agreement with your spouse and file the case in court. The process is easy and (relatively) painless.
An Uncontested Divorce Costs Less
The most popular benefit of an uncontested divorce is the lower cost. A contested divorce is expensive. Depending on how much conflict there is in your case, it can be tens of thousands of dollars or more. There are even cases that go into the six figures. Most people don’t want to spend that much money on their divorce. If you and your spouse are struggling to agree, ask yourself whether you want to give a little more to your spouse or a lot more to your attorney.
Although an uncontested divorce costs less, it isn’t cheap. Your divorce is an investment in your future and needs to be handled competently. You and your spouse are responsible for agreeing to terms. Your attorney’s job is to make sure your legal documents are correct and protect your interests. An attorney will also look for potential issues in your agreement that you and your spouse might not be aware of. Attorneys do cost money, but they cost less than having to correct a mistake later. But your legal bill in an uncontested divorce will be much lower than a contested case.
An Uncontested Divorce Gives You More Control
Another advantage of an uncontested divorce is that you have more control. This applies to both the process and the actual terms of your agreement. Anytime you and your spouse can reach an agreement, you will have more control over the details of the agreement than if you go in front of a judge. This is true whether your case started as uncontested or contested. You and your spouse can best tailor your agreement to what works for you. You get to decide where you are willing to compromise and where you are not rather than leaving it up to a stranger to decide your future. A contested divorce can leave you feeling out of control. The process is lengthy, complex, and expensive. It wasn’t something you were planning on. By agreeing to an uncontested divorce, you regain control over the experience.
An Uncontested Divorce is More Peaceful
One more plus of an uncontested divorce is that it is a much more amicable process. An antagonistic divorce is stressful and unpleasant. Why bring that hostility and negativity into your life if you can avoid it? If you can find a way to agree with your spouse, you can make the whole experience more pleasant for both of you. Being friendly and respectful helps you focus on the future and moving on instead of dwelling on past hurts. Yes, you will have to reach some compromises with your spouse to use the uncontested process. But in a contested case you will also likely have to reach these compromises—or let a judge decide. When you work together towards the goal of a shorter and less stressful process, it is easier to be considerate of each other.
If you have children, keeping your case amicable is particularly important. You’re going to have to get along for the rest of your children’s lives. Even after they grow up and become adults, you will likely still see each other occasionally. A contested divorce can lead to burned bridges and resentment to the point where you can’t even have a civil conversation with each other. Do you want your child playing peacemaker between you and your ex at their own graduation or wedding? Contested litigation can make any existing conflict worse. The uncontested process is a way to keep things more amicable.
An uncontested divorce is a much better experience than a contested one. You save time, stress, and money. You get more control over the process and can stay on better terms with your spouse. If you aren’t sure if you and your spouse can reach an agreement, it is a least worth a try before starting down the contested path. Contact Porchlight for help with your uncontested divorce and keeping your case civil. 678-435-9069.