Is an Uncontested Divorce Right for You?

If you or someone you love is thinking about filing for divorce, it is only natural to worry about the amount of time the process may take, the emotional toll that may accompany it, or what the ultimate price tag may be. In this situation, it is beneficial to explore the possibility of an uncontested divorce and to determine if it may be a good fit.

An uncontested divorce is a case in which the parties are in agreement with the terms of their divorce, including matters related to the division of assets and debts, how to handle real estate and personal property, how to handle the issue of support, how to handle retirement accounts, and how to handle parenting issues, if applicable. Instead of setting the matter for trial and letting a Judge determine the outcome, the parties get to negotiate terms that are right for them, and as long as they are not considered unconscionable by the Court, these terms will be made legally binding within a Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage.

In these types of cases, it is common for one party to hire an attorney to guide the parties through the process in an efficient and effective way. While this attorney technically would only represent one of the parties, this attorney can work with both parties so long as they remain uncontested. A skilled family law attorney can help the parties negotiate and draft the terms of their divorce within a Martial Settlement Agreement, as well as an Allocation Judgment for Parental Responsibility if applicable, and that attorney can advise the parties as to what the law provides and can provide valuable insight and suggestions for the same. The goal, ultimately, is to have these terms incorporated within a Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage by the Court at a prove-up date, and oftentimes, this is the only Court date ever needed for this type of case.

The benefits of an uncontested divorce are many. It avoids contested hearing dates on issues within the case, as well as the time, money, and strife associated with them. Parties can elect to work with a single attorney to guide them through the process, thereby limiting attorney’s fees. It avoids the lengthy and costly discovery process, and frequently avoids multiple Court dates. Only one party would need to appear at the prove-up Court date, wherein the Judge grants a Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage incorporating their agreed terms. It is an amicable way to set the tone for the parties co-parenting in the future, if applicable. It enhances the chance of avoiding post-decree issues down the road. In an uncontested divorce, parties are in control of the outcome of their case.

This type of divorce is a good fit for parties who are aware of what is within their marital estate, are in agreement with how to divide it, and are in agreement with how to co-parent, if applicable. Ideally, these are parties that have already communicated with each other and come to an agreement about these terms, but this discussion can also be one that is initiated by an attorney representing one of the parties. Oftentimes, this type of divorce is a great option for young parties, short marriages, or marriages with minimal joint assets or debts, but ultimately, it is an option for any couple that chooses to discuss the terms of their divorce in an amicable way.

If you would like more information on this topic, please contact the author, family law attorney Colleen Hurley, at 224-836-6172 or