Divorce can be a difficult and expensive process. Fortunately, if you and your spouse can decide on all the terms for the divorce without needing to get the courts involved, then you can have an uncontested divorce. This will cost both of you much less and be a more convenient process.
It’s still best to consult with a Manhattan divorce lawyer to put together the paperwork for your uncontested divorce. This guide will cover the ins and outs of uncontested divorce, along with how an attorney can make the process easier for you.
What Is Uncontested Divorce?
Divorces can get messy, because couples need to agree on how they’ll divide everything, if either spouse will get support and what they’ll do with their children, should they have any. There are two ways this can go:
The former situation would be considered an uncontested divorce, whereas the latter would be a contested divorce. An uncontested divorce will typically be much quicker, because neither side needs to present their case, and there won’t be any court proceedings. Since there’s far less work involved for your divorce lawyer, their fee will be much lower.
To have an uncontested divorce, there are many items you and your spouse need to discuss and agree on. Here are the most common things to consider:
Division of Assets
Depending on the marital assets you and your spouse have, it could take some time to divide everything. Assets here include any property and money you two have. You will also need to decide how to divide any shared debt.
If one of you makes more money than the other, Spousal Support may be appropriate. If so, you’ll need to agree on an amount and how long this will be paid.
If you two have any children together, then you’ll need to set up a custody arrangement. Depending on who has the children more and who makes more money, you two may also want to set a child support amount.
Can You Change Your Type of Divorce?
It is possible to start with one type of divorce, and then later switch to the other type. You and your spouse could go from either an uncontested divorce to a contested divorce or vice versa.
Let’s say that you two start by filing for uncontested divorce, but as you go through the process, you no longer agree on something. If you can’t figure it out, then you two will need to go to court. At that point, your uncontested divorce has become a contested divorce.
If you two have been going through a contested divorce, but then come to an agreement that works for both of you, you can switch to an uncontested divorce.
Why You Still Need a Lawyer for an Uncontested Divorce
Considering an uncontested divorce is the simpler option and really only requires filing some paperwork, you may wonder why you should hire a divorce lawyer at all.
There are several reasons why it’s still in your best interest to get a divorce lawyer for this. One of the most significant is so that your lawyer can check out the divorce agreement and make sure that it’s fair. If you have accepted an agreement that is unfavorable to you, your divorce lawyer will let you know instead of you regretting the agreement later. Divorce courts can also throw out unbalanced divorce agreements, which is why it’s good to have a lawyer check your agreement out first to ensure that it goes through.
Even filing for an uncontested divorce can be a bit tricky. It’s a process most people aren’t familiar with, and all the paperwork needs to be filled out correctly. You’re better off having a professional handle the paperwork for you to avoid any mistakes. Your divorce will process more quickly, and you won’t get stuck paying multiple filing fees because of any errors.
An uncontested divorce is certainly the way to go if you and your spouse can agree on one. Divorce is stressful enough as it is, and at least getting through it quickly will minimize your stress.
If you, and your spouse, have worked out an agreement and have signed it – you still need to attend a hearing in court, in order to prove the agreement and terms are valid. At the court hearing, even if you’re contesting the divorce, you have to go – and testify under oath in front of the judge. You have to tell the judge, about the agreement. Say you and your spouse have reached an agreement about the split in property, custody, and both spouses are signing it. If one of the spouses signs a waiver, indicating he or she isn’t going to attend — then the other spouse will have to go to the court house in order to complete the divorce proceedings.
First, you’ll have to schedule the hearing. Before the hearing, your attorney will prepare files in advance. Your attorney will have a copy of the petition, and any other documents that were filed. In addition, the attorney will make sure the final agreement is prepared, and signed. In addition, a final order will be drafted – for a judge’s signature – in addition to any other paperwork/form.
When you go to the court. You will be asked questions from the judge. Questions will range from how long you’ve been married, to when you were separated, and whether you and your spouse have agreed + signed the paperwork among other questions. Bottom line, the judge will ask all the questions to ensure he understands the story – and to confirm everything looks “fine,” ethically speaking.
When a spouse asks for a divorce, it can be a devastating time in both their lives. Taking the first step towards a divorce can be scary and uncertain as well. Often, couples will agree to counseling before they take the final step of the divorce itself. What do you do when he won’t drop the divorce during counseling?
Take the Time
It can take a long time to get a divorce. Between paperwork and motions, a divorce can take anywhere from a few months to a year of your time. While the divorce progresses, you can take advantage of weekly counseling to see if the divorce is necessary. If it is, you won’t have wasted any time or money in the process.
During this time, you could see a counselor on your own without your husband or wife. It might help you focus on yourself. It’ll be helpful to find out whether you’re holding on to a marriage that it might be better to drop. A divorce can be devastating to a person’s confidence, which counseling can rebuild.
Ask for a Postponement
In some cases, you can ask the judge for a postponement. The court doesn’t want to waste its time on a proceeding when the couple is still trying to work things out themselves. The judge can’t normally demand a couple attend counseling, but he can send you to mediation to see if the problems in the marriage can be fixed without the court’s involvement.
Your husband might not want to stop the divorce, but he can certainly ask for it to be postponed too. He might still be on the fence about the divorce if he’s seeking counseling with you. See if he’ll ask the court to postpone the proceedings.
Talk to Your Lawyer
Lawyers don’t want to waste their time on pleadings and motions for a divorce that won’t happen. If you talk to your lawyer, he may be able to convince the other lawyer to talk to his client. Your lawyer can threaten to make the entire process difficult unless your husband postpones the filing of the divorce.
You might be able to get your husband to agree to a trial separation while you attend counseling together. It’s a good sign that he’ll attend counseling without being forced.
Contest the Divorce
In some states, you can contest the divorce. If you live in a state without fault grounds for divorce, you don’t have any way to stop the divorce. In a state with fault grounds, you can challenge the grounds for the divorce itself.
Unfortunately, many spouses who challenge the grounds for divorce will lose, but it’s worth a try. The judge may see that you’re in counseling and decide to postpone the divorce while you’re working on the marriage.
Divorce is always a difficult topic, but the fact that he is in counseling with you to save the marriage is a good sign. While he might not want to stop the divorce proceedings, he might be willing to postpone the process or turn it into a trial separation.
After counseling, you might decide that you’re better off divorced. Make sure to speak to your lawyer about options you might have before taking the final steps to divorce.
Here’s a great article by DelanceyStreet.com, a hard money lender. The concept of divorce is not a new one, and it’s not one you consider when you get married. Your idea of getting married is staying married for the rest of your life, but sometimes things change. You were young when you got married and grew into different people. You fell out of love. Your husband turned into someone you don’t respect or love, he abuses you, he decided he did or did not want children even though you already discussed how you felt prior to marriage. There are infinite reasons your marriage didn’t work out, but there is no question that you’re getting a divorce if you don’t want to stay married.
Some couples make this decision together. You might decide things aren’t working after a fight. You realize just how often you spend yelling at one another and arguing, you find out he cheated, you cheated, you don’t love one another anymore. You can sit down and decide this is the best course of action and try to come up with a plan. It makes the entire process easier, which is a positive thing when divorce occurs. It’s already difficult enough to end a marriage without making it more difficult by fighting and making one another miserable through the divorce process.
What happens, though, if you want to end your marriage and he doesn’t? Maybe he’s still in love with you and wants to work things out. Maybe he is so mad at you he wants to make your life miserable and refuses to sign any papers just to spite you. Whatever it is, he has a right to refuse to sign the divorce papers. Before you panic, though, you should know you can still get divorced.
What happens if he won’t sign the papers?
When you file for divorce, you do so at the local Clerk of Court’s office or through your attorney who does this for you. Once the papers are filed, the court makes copies of them and sends them to your spouse with a process server. The server takes the paperwork to your spouse, who then has so many days to file a response to the motion. His response is to tell the court what he wants from the divorce, which might or might not be what you want from it on your own divorce petition.
He has so many days to respond before the court decides he’s not responding and continues to go through with the divorce proceedings based on what you want in the petition. If he refuses to show up for mediation, the judge will schedule a hearing. He must come to the hearing. It is within his right to contest the divorce time and time again by stating he’s not happy with the settlement decisions, and there is nothing you can do about that.
His refusal to sign and his incessant need to contest the divorce is not stopping, you can request the judge grants your divorce regardless. It happens in many instances when it’s obvious one party is being difficult and not giving the other the divorce they want. It might take longer, it might be more frustrating, and it might not be how you envisioned the rest of your life, but it’s entirely possible to go through with a divorce even if your spouse refuses to sign the divorce papers.
It’s not uncommon, but no one can force you to stay married if it’s not what you want. If your spouse really does continue to ignore the papers and refuse them, all he is doing is dragging out the process a little longer than it needs to be. You do have a chance to get divorced, and an attorney can help you with it if you’re facing problems with the man you no longer want to spend your life with.
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