For couples who do not remain married very long or who have few assets to divide, uncontested divorce is often a strong solution to their divorce needs. When used properly, uncontested divorce helps couples get the resolution they need personally and legally without dragging the process out into a lengthy battle that drains resources and worsens an already tense relationship.
However, uncontested divorce is simply inappropriate for some couples, even if they want to use it. Those who have fairly complex assets to divide or who must deal with custody issues and parenting plans may also find that uncontested divorce does not serve their need or protect their priorities effectively.
If you and your spouse are considering uncontested divorce, make sure that you fully assess the state of your marriage to understand which tools are a good fit for your needs. Poorly executed divorces often lead to greater complications down the road, creating lingering issues that lead to conflict and frustration over time. Protecting your rights and priorities in divorce means executing it correctly the first time.
What is uncontested divorce?
No two marriages are exactly the same, so it stands to reason that the law provides a tool for those who wish to divorce amicably with little or not conflict or negotiation. For couples who do not need to divide complex property or address child custody issues, uncontested divorce is often a great fit.
Uncontested divorce allows couples to streamline the experience and finalize the divorce they need in a matter of a few months, which is very fast in divorce terms. However, this depends on couples agreeing across a number of issues and choosing to come to the divorce without intending to fight over the details. If the couple has any disagreement at all over how the divorce should resolve, then uncontested divorce may not serve their needs.
When is uncontested divorce inappropriate?
If a marriage involves much property, such as a business or marital home, this is probably too complex for uncontested divorce. Streamlined divorce cannot simply ignore issues that the couple does not wish to address, it is only effective when there truly are not many issues to resolve.
It is common, for example, for couples to use uncontested divorce if they realize in a matter of months or only a couple years that their marriage is unsustainable. At that point, they may have only accumulated a few pieces of property and have not remained married for long enough to get their personal and professional lives too intertwined.
For couples who remain married for more than a couple years or who have complex assets or children, uncontested divorce is probably inappropriate. Custody negotiations may not seem like much fun, for instance, but the agreements that a couple reaches in creating a parenting plan will affect their lives for years to come depending on the age of the child.
If you hope to use uncontested divorce, be sure to carefully assess your marriage and the issues that you must address. Whether you choose to use uncontested divorce or not, you always have the option of participating in divorce in a civil, amicable way and treating each other with dignity. Don’t let the complexity of the legal system deter you from navigating divorce with your dignity and self-respect intact. Use the strength of the law to uphold your values and resolve your marriage in a way that satisfies you.