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Brooklyn Family Law, Blog

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October 20, 2014
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What are Some of the Benefits of an Uncontested Divorce?

Uncontested Divorce Family law, BrooklynThere are a number of benefits to an uncontested divorce, but like separation agreements, both people need to be on board. As mentioned in other sections of this site, a divorce consists of several parts including custody, child support, spousal support (also called maintenance), distribution of property and debt as well as the divorce itself.

In an uncontested divorce, all of the parts of divorce action but for the divorce itself already must be decided. This is generally done through a written agreement of some sort such as a separation agreement or opting out agreement. Parts may already be decided through custody orders, child support orders and spousal support orders. In your agreement, you can say something as simple as the two of you wanting to continue the existing orders, and then simply address the open issues specifically.

For a divorce to be uncontested, it means that there are no open issues to be resolved in any other part of the divorce action but the divorce itself. This does not mean the two of you simply agree that you are going to get a divorce. It must mean that all issues are resolved, by written agreement, otherwise, it is not an uncontested divorce, there is merely an intent by the two of you to get divorced. That alone is not enough to make it uncontested.

If you and your spouse can agree on issues of custody, child support, visitation, distributing your assets and debt, then that must be put into an agreement, as above stated. Once that is done, all that is left is the divorce and you can do it as an uncontested action.

If you already have a separation agreement that is a year or more old and you do not want to change any of its terms (such as child support or the visitation/custodial schedule), then you are already in a position to start an uncontested divorce. These divorces are referred to as “conversion divorces” because you are essentially converting the terms of your separation agreement into the terms of your divorce judgment.

One of the benefits of an uncontested divorce action is the speed with which it can happen. Just like any other divorce action, the papers have to be served on the other side and they have twenty days to respond. With these actions, because everything is amenable between spouses, the spouse served will likely sign a waiver of the time period to answer, indicating they do not intend to answer and want the plaintiff to be allowed to proceed immediately for divorce. That alone saves you twenty days. This effectively allows the defendant to be served with papers, sign the waiver and final papers to be submitted to the Court on the same day. Then it is merely a matter of how long it takes the NY Court to sign the papers which is outside of the control of this, or any, office.

Though an exact amount of time cannot be guaranteed, this method is many, many months faster than a contested divorce. With an uncontested divorce, from beginning to end, we are talking mere weeks before the divorce is final.

UnDivorce Brooklyn family law firm. Because these actions are not adversarial, you and your spouse both agreeing to do this in a friendly fashion, an uncontested divorce is far, far less expensive than a contested divorce. This is not to say that each party does not have to be aware of all of the assets of the other party at the time the agreement is entered into to settle all issues of the marriage. Unless a separation agreement is already in place before a conversion divorce is started, then both parties will still need to execute Matrimonial Net Worth Statements just as they would in a contested divorce action, and in some cases these Statements are attached to a separation agreement and used as the basis of the financial settlement. This is to assure that both parties are entering into a settlement agreement knowing all assets and debts involved and can, therefore, make their decisions as to reasonable settlement accordingly.

Often not discussed is the emotional cost of a contested divorce. There is no such cost whatsoever with an uncontested divorce but for the natural sadness resulting from the end of any marriage. But there is no fighting, no name calling, no accusations, no putting the children in the middle of a contested litigation. The two of you can part on friendly terms, in a short amount of time, without the animosity that comes from a contested action, and with the money in the bank that would have been spent on a contested action.

When they can be done, an uncontested divorce is a win/win situation. Please contact our Family Law Practice in Brooklyn, NY with any questions about dissolving a marriage disolving, or considering a divorce, we will be glad to assist you.