What Is Uncontested Divorce?
Uncontested divorce (sometimes called a “no-fault” divorce) is a divorce in which the parties resolve all issues by an agreement instead of having a trial in court. Such an agreement may be negotiated by the parties before either party calls an attorney or the agreement may require extensive negotiations between lawyers. Additionally, an uncontested divorce can be obtained through the mediation process.
An uncontested divorce is far less stressful than a contested divorce because the power to resolve the issues is in the hands of the parties themselves instead of in the hands of a judge. Uncontested divorce is also more affordable and the quickest as there is no need for a trial or even any court appearances at all.
An uncontested divorce is available for those couples who reach agreements issues such as
- child custody and visitation
- child support
- maintenance (alimony)
- exclusive use or the sale of a marital home
- equitable distribution of marital property including property and debt division
- and any other issue related to divorce or legal separation.
Who Should Consider Uncontested Divorce?
Pursuing an uncontested divorce is not ideal for everyone. An uncontested divorce may not be fitting for parties with issues such as such as complex finances, hidden income, an unreasonable spouse or a history of domestic violence. In order to qualify for an uncontested divorce, the parties must be able to agree on all the terms of the divorce.
How Much Does Uncontested Divorce Cost?
Uncontested divorce is generally considered to be significantly cheaper than traditional contested divorce. In a contested divorce, each spouse hires a separate attorney and pays separate (and usually much larger) retainer fees. From there, the matter is litigated through the courts with mandatory court appearances and extensive discovery. All of this means that your bills will increase quickly. Uncontested divorce is different. The parties can move at their own pace without any court appearances whatsoever thereby reducing the cost.
The total fee will depend on the complexity of your case. The most important factor in the cost is simply the attorney’s time involved in getting your case from start to finish with the best outcome for you. If you and your spouse have agreed on the terms of the divorce or minimal negotiations are needed than the process can be quick and inexpensive. Issues such as disagreement on custody / visitation, support payments or retirement accounts can mean more negotiation and bargaining which will increase the total fee.
Fees for uncontested divorce start at $1,500 but the final cost will depend on the complexity of your case.
How Long Does an Uncontested Divorce take in New York?
Negotiating, drafting and executing the paperwork for an uncontested divorce can be done in just a few days, depending on the nature of the case.
Once all of the documents have been signed by the parties, the case is submitted to the court for a judge to sign the “Judgment of Divorce.” This process of having the courts review the paperwork and awaiting a judge’s signature can take about 6 months in Suffolk County or Nassau County. This period is not a waiting period established by law – it is simply a result of the backlog of uncontested divorces on Long Island.
Considering representing yourself?
Everyone has the right to represent themselves in court proceedings but it is not always wise to do so. A person who represents themselves is called a pro se litigant and they are treated in the courtroom as though they have the same knowledge as an attorney. There are certain circumstances where self-representation is “safe” but you should never do it without first consulting with a attorney. A divorce lawyer can look at the very emotional and difficult issue of divorce with the advantage of being objective. Investing a relatively small sum of money in a matrimonial lawyer is the best way to protect yourself in a divorce. An experienced divorce attorney will be able to advise you as to all options in the divorce, expedite the divorce process and ensure all requirements are met.
Suffolk Uncontested Divorce Lawyer
In-office consultations are encouraged for Long Island residents. Our office is located in Huntington, Suffolk County and easily accessible from local highways.
For clients unavailable for in-office meetings, we offer “online divorce” or “electronic divorce” representation. Consultations can be accomplished by telephone, e-mail or video-chat. Paperwork and forms can be sent to the client traditional mail, e-mail or fax. This enables our office to easily service all New York State citizens.
Call now for a free consultation with a Huntington uncontested divorce lawyer.