Many times couples know that they want to get divorced but they don’t know exactly what the procedure is to achieve those results and whether or not they’re going to be in for a long battle or a very short battle. One of the first questions that I asked potential clients is this: are both parties in agreement and are they willing to sign all of the necessary documents? In many cases clients will answer that they are in agreement on the divorce, however, they are unsure whether or not their spouses going to sign the documents.
Unless the spouse is going to sign the documents, we do not have an uncontested case. Even though there is an agreement that the parties should have a divorce, it cannot go forward as an uncontested case unless there is a total agreement on all issues such as property division, allocation of debt, custody, support, visitation, division of property and any other issue related to the parties and their marriage. If there is even one issue that is in dispute, the case transcends from being uncontested to contested.
Now, in a contested case, the party really needs to be served by the sheriff. They get 30 days to respond. There is going to be discovery, motions, pretrial and possibly even trial. So the determination on whether on whether the case is going to be contested or uncontested is a huge difference in terms of price, time, heartache and of course, the end result. So the very first thing that couples need to determine is whether or not they are going to have a uncontested case and whether or not they can agree on all the issues so that the matter can be provided in front of the court, reduced to writing or a judgment and have it signed by the court. If the parties can do that, you have an uncontested case which only requires one court date.