What is Uncontested Divorce?
An uncontested divorce case is a divorce case in which spouses either agree on issues like distribution of property, money, support, if any to each other, and custody of children parenting issues. In some cases, this means neither party will need to file a response to a court filing.
The divorce case may be treated as uncontested if one of the spouses files a case and the other agrees on what has been submitted in the court or the other party does not appear at all (default). The spouses may also file a joint petition for divorce.
If the divorce is uncontested, it is not necessary for either of the spouses to appear before the court and the matter may be decided through the mail unless required by the judge.
How does an Uncontested Divorce Case Proceed?
The petition for divorce is filed as a joint petition or one of the spouses files a petition and the other either does not contest or enters into a settlement agreement with the petitioner, the matter will be finalized by a court declaration. In either case, a petition for divorce will be filed with the court in the relevant count. In case of a joint petition or a later agreement between the spouses, the agreement will also be filed in the court.
What is included in the Agreement?
In the settlement agreement, both the spouses must agree on all aspects like division of property, support, and custody of children. In case they do not agree on all the things, the matter will be treated as contested and the parties may have to appear before the court to argue on their stance.
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Document to be filed in the Court (When other Spouse does not appear)
In case one of the spouses files the petition and the other does not respond, the petition will have to file certain forms the Form FL-165 (Request to Enter Default) or FL-130 (Appearance, Stipulations, and Waivers), FL-170 (Declaration for Default or Uncontested Dissolution or Legal Separation), FL-180 (Judgment), FL-190 (Notice of Entry of Judgment), FL-141(Declaration Regarding Service of Declaration of Disclosure) and FL-144(Stipulation and Waiver of Final Declaration of Disclosure).
Further, in case of a request for custody orders, the petitioner will have to file the applicable forms from the list below:
FL-341(A)-Supervised Visitation Order
FL-341(B) -Child Abduction Prevention Order Attachment
FL-341(C)-Children’s Holiday Schedule Attachment
FL-341(E) -Joint Legal Custody Attachment
In case the petitioner asks for child support, he or she will also have to file certain applicable form like:
Further, if the petitioner seeks an order for spousal or partner support, the relevant forms would also be required from:
Lastly, if the petitioner has made a request for the division of community property, he or she may have to file application forms from the below list:
Document to be filed (When another Spouse appears and both reach an agreement)
When the respondent spouse appears and ultimately both the spouses agree and execute a settlement agreement, they will have to file the relevant forms as mentioned above, along with the agreement.
Things to Care For
When filing the forms or other documents, the parties must review and make sure that they understand the contents (terms and conditions) of the agreement and the documents.
Once all the documents, in case of default or uncontested case, have been prepared and review, two copies of the documents must be filed with the court clerk with two large envelopes (with postage). The court clerk will then process the case and send it for approval of the judge. None of the parties will have to appear before the judge unless there is some deficiency in the documents.
Final Judgment and Delivery
Finally, when the judge is satisfied, he will sign the judgment and the court clerk, after entry of the same in the record, will send judgment and notice of entry to both the spouses for their record.
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