To file for an uncontested divorce the right way, you should do the following:
- Hire an experienced divorce attorney who believes in resolving cases amicably
- Prepare and file the papers
- Serve the papers
- Receive the other spouse’s response and file it with the county court
In an uncontested divorce, both spouses agree on all contentious issues and decide mutually to go through with the legal motions to bring an amicable end to their marriage. They know what procedures they should comply with and are generally ready for what comes next. As they are prepared to go through the motions, here is what they should do to file for an uncontested divorce:
1. Hire An Experienced Divorce Attorney Who Believes In Resolving Cases Amicably
You don’t just need an experienced divorce attorney – you need an experienced one who can facilitate a peaceful completion of your divorce case by helping you resolve any nagging issues that may crop up during the divorce process and by filing a no-fault divorce petition. So, before hiring an attorney, check his/her track record on how he/she has helped spouses in the past to end their marriage cordially.
Know that all states allow spouses to file a no-fault divorce petition, which is preferred by many spouses who agree on all litigious issues (alimony, child custody, child support, property division).
2. Prepare And File The Papers
Your attorney then downloads the appropriate divorce forms (available on your state’s courts’ website), fills them up, obtains your signature, collects the filing fees from you, and files the papers with the county clerk’s office. The following papers are usually filed:
- “Summons with notice” or “summons and complaint”
- Notice of automatic orders
- Settlement agreement
- Other divorce forms mandated by the state
3. Serve The Papers
The next step is to inform the other spouse that you have filed for divorce. This is also referred to as serving the papers. Of course, in an uncontested divorce, the other spouse knows what is coming and he/she is most likely not to contest any issue, but this is a legal step that he/she must comply with.
The papers served include:
- A copy of the “summons and complaint”
- A copy of the notice of automatic order
- Settlement agreement
- Affidavit of defendant
- Copies of any other forms you may have filed
The papers must be served within a specified number of days from the date of filing. They should be served by an adult (i.e., over 18 years of age) and the mode of service should comply with the state’s laws.
4. Receive The Other Spouse’s Response And File It With The County Court
As the other spouse knows about the divorce, he/she is likely to sign the papers and return them. Once you receive the signed papers, your attorney will file them with the county clerk’s office, and then you have to wait for the divorce decree. Note that most states require spouses to wait for a specified period (also referred to as the waiting period or cooling-off period) before the divorce decree is granted.