It is possible to get a divorce without making a court appearance. Let’s start with a definition:
- Uncontested divorce: This is where the divorce and the divorce settlement has been agreed upon by both parties.
Of course, this does not mean there may not be disagreements between the parties it simply means the parties have come to an agreement without the need of going to a court and using a judge to provide resolution to issues that are outstanding. It should be mentioned at the outset some states require you to go to a judge as part of the divorce process. But even in those circumstances if you can come to agreements, the court case can be over very quickly. Remember, both parties can resolve everything between themselves or utilize what is known as Alternative Dispute Resolution. Read on to learn more.
If both parties can take the time to list out the issues that need to be determined and tackle them together, it is often very helpful and productive. Here are some categories to consider:
- Custody of a child or children
- Support of a child or children
- Spousal or alimony support
- Debt and property division
Once this has been agreed upon, a divorce lawyer can go over everything and assist with a Property Settlement Agreement. This usually includes the terms you have stated as well as any legal clauses. Remember, each party will need their own attorney for this process.
Both parties can work on their difference with a professionally trained mediator. When meeting with a mediator and supplying the relevant document and information, you can then meet as needed so a settlement can be determined. Usually this does not cause as much stress and the sessions are often informal and attorneys are not a requirement, unless a party insists on one being there. The cost for the mediator is usually shared between the two parties.
Collaborative Divorce Process
Essentially, this is where the parties and their attorneys take part in what can be described as “four-way conversations” so an agreement can be obtained. Attorneys often have specialized training in this area. And if any additional expertise is required, that person, must be agreed on by both parties and adopt a neutral standpoint. This option is sometimes chosen by parties who are happier with legal representation in the proceedings. But the downside is you may have to start over if an agreement cannot be determined with new attorneys as most states do not permit attorneys to represent a party further should the negotiations fail.
When the parties want someone else to determine issues away from the standard court process when they are unable to come to an arrangement by themselves. The role of the arbitrator is to consider the outstanding issues and makes a determination. Note: this is not an option in every state. The upside is both parties get to choose the arbitrator and you can work on setting the times and length of the sessions. On the downside, the decision made is binding and final and you normally cannot appeal. With complicated situations an arbitrator can also become an expensive proposition.
Even when divorce cases have been settled, a divorce complaint or petition must still be filed with the court to formally dissolve the marriage. In most states when the divorce is a “no fault” divorce for such matters as “irreconcilable differences” you may not have to attend court. There will be some documentation that will need submitting and this is frequently found on the website of the court. As long as everything is completed properly, the judge in normal circumstances will issue a final judgement. In states where a court appearance is mandatory, once the paperwork has been filed, you can inform the court clerk the case has been settled and they normally will give you a court date sooner. You will be with the judge for around a quarter of an hour to verify the reason for the divorce and go over the agreement.
Source: Pandolfi, Joseph. “How to Divorce Without Going to Court.” Www.divorcenet.com, Nolo, 30 Nov. 2017, www.divorcenet.com/resources/how-to-divorce-without-going-to-court.html.
Source: “FAQ.” Legalzoom.com, www.legalzoom.com/knowledge/divorce/faq.
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*This information is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs.