WHAT IS AN UNCONTESTED DIVORCE?
May 1, 2021
For many people, divorce may seem like an inevitably long, arduous, painful process — but the truth is, it doesn’t have to be. According to the United States Census Bureau, 11.2% of couples who marry in Kansas get divorced. If you are considering divorce or have recently started the process, a divorce attorney can help simplify the entire legal process.
Jeffers Law Office is a firm that handles all types of family law cases. The firm serves Overland Park, Kansas as well as the neighboring areas of Olathe, Lenexa, Shawnee, Leawood, Prairie Village, Merriam, Mission, Gardner, and all of Johnson, Wyandotte, Miami, and Leavenworth counties.
WHAT IS UNCONTESTED DIVORCE?
There are two types of divorce - contested and uncontested. An uncontested divorce happens when both parties agree on all of the relevant issues. Relevant issues include, but are not limited to:
Spousal support (maintenance or alimony)
Parenting Plan (custody, residency, and parenting time schedule arrangements)
Division of assets and debts
When it comes to divorce, Kansas has a mandatory minimum 60-day waiting period between when the divorce is first filed and when it can be finalized. Once the 60-day waiting period is over, the parties involved are able to present the final agreement to the court. This must be presented for approval in order to obtain a divorce decree.
An uncontested divorce can also occur when the responding party (the person who did not file the divorce petition) fails to respond after being properly notified of the proceedings. When this happens, the person who did not respond is in "default" and the person who initiated divorce proceedings can complete the divorce without the other party's input, again, after proper notice to the other party.
WHAT IS THE PROCESS OF AN UNCONTESTED DIVORCE?
As you may know, the first step is to simply file for divorce. You typically file in the county where either spouse lives. Once that happens, you and your spouse must come to an agreement about all of the relevant issues listed above (spousal support, child custody and support, asset/debt division, etc.) and any other issues involved.
After the 60-day waiting period has passed, you can file a divorce settlement agreement with the court that details the agreements reached and the arrangements that you made with your spouse. The settlement and the final divorce decree must be approved by a judge and you may have to appear for a final hearing. Afterwards, upon the judge’s approval, an official decree of divorce will be signed by the judge and filed with the court.
A judge will not approve the settlement if it is clear that the terms are not "fair, just, and equitable", if the terms were arranged while someone was coerced or under duress, or if the agreed upon terms are not in the best interest of any minor children involved in the divorce.
If you cannot come to an agreement, the divorce becomes contested and you will end up in court so that a judge can rule on any contested issues.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF AN UNCONTESTED DIVORCE?
An uncontested divorce can help save significant time, money, and stress for both parties involved. Contested divorce cases often take months or even years to resolve in court. Court proceedings for contested divorces can involve witnesses, evidence, and extensive legal arguments. These types of divorces can also take a significant emotional toll on both parties as proceedings drag out. Court proceedings for contested divorce cases also involve a level of uncertainty, as you never truly know which way the judge will rule. In addition, the attorney fees and court costs can quickly add up with prolonged litigation.
While sometimes a contested divorce is unavoidable, it is always best to work toward an uncontested divorce if you are able to. It can keep conflict to a minimum and allow you to move on to the next chapter of your life sooner.
HIRE AN EXPERIENCED
KANSAS DIVORCE ATTORNEY
If you are located in Overland Park, Kansas or any of the neighboring areas of Olathe, Lenexa, Shawnee, Leawood, Prairie Village, Merriam, Mission, Gardner or all of Johnson, Wyandotte, Miami, and Leavenworth Counties, Jeffers Law Office can help you through your uncontested divorce proceedings. His firm has extensive experience handling all types of family law cases, including uncontested and contested divorce — all with an eye towards reaching a solution that can help you and your family move forward. Call or reach out today to schedule a free initial telephone consultation.