What is an uncontested divorce?

What is an uncontested divorce?

Divorce is never pleasant, but an uncontested divorce can be less stressful than an angry, heated, drawn-out divorce that takes months or years to resolve in court.  “Uncontested” means that neither party is fighting the divorce decree.  Both parties have agreed to divorce, and both are on the same page where child custody, child support, spousal support (if any) and division of property are concerned.

Generally, uncontested divorces take less time, legal fees tend to be lower, and paperwork is streamlined.  Even in an uncontested divorce, though, it’s good to have your own attorney. Skilled and experienced divorce lawyers know how to draft legal documents and ask questions to make sure your best interests are covered.  Think of a lawyer in an uncontested divorce as a compassionate protector and an on-call legal mind while you walk through your divorce.

By allowing a divorce lawyer to handle the paperwork and interactions in an uncontested divorce, this frees you up to heal and start planning for the next chapter of your life.  To find out more about how an attorney can help with your uncontested divorce, call the Birk Law Firm at 573-332-8585.  The initial consultation is free.

Do I need a lawyer for an uncontested divorce?

Technically, you do not need a lawyer for an uncontested divorce.  But realistically, having a lawyer in an uncontested divorce is a good idea.  Here’s why.  You may not be fighting with the other party in an uncontested divorce, but you still want to make sure that nothing is left out of the divorce decree and that all of the paperwork is correct and double-checked.  Divorce is a very disconcerting and confusing time in life, and it would be easy to overlook or misplace something that is essential to your divorce.  Rather than carrying around that legal burden – in addition to all the other things you’re juggling – why not let a divorce lawyer handle drafting the divorce documents and filing them with the court?  That’s one less thing you have to worry about.

Having an attorney also makes every interaction with the other party professional and can spare you the stress or pain of phone calls, texts and emails with your soon-to-be former spouse.  A lawyer enables you to make a clean break.

Always remember that to have an uncontested divorce, both parties must …
  1. Not have any financial disputes about property, child support, spousal support or bank/investment accounts
  2. Agree to the divorce. If one party does not show up for a divorce hearing/proceeding in an uncontested divorce, the judge will assume that the party agrees to the divorce.

This is all very different than a “contested” divorce in which the two parties are bickering – if on speaking terms at all – and their attorneys may argue aggressively in court or during protracted negotiations.

How long does it take to get an uncontested divorce in Missouri?

Every case is different, so there is no “average” amount of time that an uncontested divorce takes.  It can depend on whether a court’s caseload is minimal or full, whether the financial and household documents you need are readily available, and how willing your partner is to participate in the process.  All of these take varying amounts of time for individuals.

The minimum amount of time it takes to get a divorce is 30 days in Missouri.  State law requires that at least one spouse reside in Missouri for 90 days prior to filing.  The reason the state requires 30 days to pass between the filing of the divorce petition and the final judgment is so that a couple can have a “cooling off period.”  This gives married couples a chance to calm down and reflect before making a permanent decision to end the marriage.

After the paperwork is filed with the court, the clock starts ticking and the divorce can be finalized in 30 days.  How many days exactly will be affected by caseload and the speed with which a judge can sign the final Decree of Dissolution.

If you have more questions about how long your divorce might take, call us at 573-332-8585.

How does a no-contest divorce work in Missouri?

You begin an uncontested divorce by making sure that your partner agrees to a simple divorce with no legal arguments.  After you and your partner arrive at this understanding, then you will begin gathering personal paperwork such as bank statements, retirement account information, mortgage documents, vehicle title/loan documents, statements of income and expenses, statements of property and debt, and notes about a parenting plan and the understanding you and your partner have reached regarding child custody, child support or spousal support.

Then you bring these documents to your divorce attorney so that he or she can review them and create the paperwork that must be filed with the court.  At that time, your attorney can guide you about whether additional documents and information need to be collected.  Then your attorney will file the paperwork, which includes a court filing fee.  The average filing fee in Missouri is close to $100, though this can be slightly more depending on the county you live in.

Contact a Skilled Missouri Divorce Lawyer Today

If you are ready to move forward with your life and leave behind a difficult marriage, then you may want to explore an uncontested divorce.  This is particularly true if you and your partner are on relatively good terms and both agree to the divorce.  An uncontested divorce is not a good choice for couples who are arguing aggressively about finances, children and property, but it is a good option for a couple who has already resolved these issues amicably on their own.

To find out more about how a swift uncontested divorce in Missouri can save money and enable you to move confidently toward a new future, talk to a divorce attorney at Birk Law Firm.  We have helped many clients pursue uncontested divorces and get on with life.  The initial consultation is free, so call us at 573-332-8585.