You got married believing that you and your spouse would be together forever. You never believed you would be in a position where you wanted to get a divorce or where you were served with papers. Yet, reality can be cruel. Many people who marry do end up getting divorced, but might not be aware that they can save time and money by getting a divorce without going to court.
The thought of divorce is enough to make most people cringe and start to worry. It has the potential to get ugly, to drag on for a long time, and to be extremely expensive. Many times, divorces involve couples who are at serious odds with one another, and it may seem like going to court is inevitable.
That’s not always the case, though. It doesn’t have to be long and bitter. If you and your spouse are capable of communicating with one another and negotiating, you may be able to reach an agreement that will take care of all of the issues involved in your divorce without needing to go to trial. This is known as an uncontested divorce.
Another term for this that you might hear is divorce by consent decree. It is a good option for those who want to get a divorce without the hassle of going through a trial. If you and your spouse can agree on everything in the divorce, and you don’t have children, then you may be able to get through without needing to go through a trial at all. Many couples do this every year, and it could work well for you.
Divorce Mediation Could Help
When going through a divorce, you may find that choosing mediation can help to make things easier for you. It could help you get to the point where you reach agreements with your spouse that were sticking points before. The mediators and negotiation can help you with some back and forth to get to a point where you can agree on all of the various elements in your divorce. When this happens, when you can agree and settle, it will allow you to bypass a trial.
You aren’t required to hire a mediator or anyone to help with negotiations, of course. However, it can help to make things substantially easier for you if you do.
How Long Does the Uncontested Divorce Take?
Although you might think that an uncontested divorce would be fast and easy since you don’t have to go to court, it does still take some time. This is simply because you have to wait a minimum of 60 days before you can get a divorce decree. This is meant to provide a cooling-off period in case a couple ends up changing their mind about getting a divorce without going to court a few weeks after filing.
Typically, though, even with an uncontested divorce it will take somewhere between 90 and 120 days before it is finalized. In cases where the divorce is contested and goes to trial, though, it is going to take much longer. You can often expect those types of divorces to go on for six months to a year or even longer.
Even though it might still take a couple of months to get the divorce, you will find that it’s still quicker and usually cheaper than a contested divorce. This is because you won’t need to wait for a trial, so a judge can resolve all of the issues between you and your spouse. It also means you won’t need to hire an attorney for a long divorce process.
Could you still hire an attorney, though? Certainly, you can hire an attorney for an uncontested divorce, and many people do, just to ensure they are being treated fairly. However, because these divorces tend to be simple and don’t have the complexity of a case with children or with contested issues, an attorney is not needed.
One of the reasons that you may still want to work with an attorney, though, is that it will help to make the paperwork much easier. You could hire a paralegal to help with this instead of an attorney, though, which could help you to save even more money. Just remember that even though a paralegal can help you in these matters, they are not permitted to provide you with legal advice of any sort.
Sometimes a Trial is the Only Way to Go
Although the goal is generally to settle to avoid trial and a long divorce process, it doesn’t always work out that way. Sometimes, though, you will find that you simply can’t reach agreements. You or your spouse are so set on getting certain things your way that you are willing to go to court and fight over them.
It doesn’t necessarily mean there is anything wrong with this path if that’s what you need to do. However, if you are the one who is always trying to negotiate, it can be frustrating when you have a spouse that doesn’t want to give in on certain things.This is one of those cases where you probably won’t be able to get a divorce without going to court. Sometimes, the trial is the only way forward.
Just make sure that you and your spouse are ready for what happens in those cases. When it goes to trial, the control is taken out of your hands and put into the hands of the judge. They will be the one who decides on what happens with all of those issues where you were unable to agree with your spouse.
This means that more often than not neither of you is entirely happy with the results of the case. Still, if you can’t reach an agreement, this might be the only avenue available to you.
In those cases where the divorce does become contested, you will find that it tends to make sense to have an attorney working for you. They can help to ensure that your rights are respected and that you have proper representation in and out of the courtroom. They can also give you a better idea of what you can expect from the trial and the judge.