As the best divorce lawyers in Gilbert AZ we often get asked, “would an uncontested divorce work for my divorce?” Today I would like to talk to you about an uncontested divorce. What is it and how long does it take? Well, an uncontested divorce is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a divorce in which you and your spouse agree on all the main issues. So what are those main issues? Well, if you have children there are three additional issues. Legal decision making for the children; that’s the ability to make the major legal decisions for your children. Typically, these fall under the categories of healthcare, education, or religious upbringing. Parenting schedule, holiday parenting schedule, and child support. And then there are the other three that only indirectly involve the minor children; dividing your assets, dividing your debts, and spousal maintenance, or as most people call it, alimony.
You and your spouse may not have any disagreements on these issues and if that is the case, you can save yourself a lot of time and a lot of money. An uncontested divorce would be that somebody (one of you has to be the petitioner) would file a petition, and then the other person would agree with everything and then you would send to the court a consent decree. So what is a procedure? Well, I recommend having an attorney draft up your paperwork. Often times it makes sense for you and your spouse to come in and hire the attorney together, so that the attorney will prepare the paperwork. It’s also possible for each spouse to have separate representation and do it by agreement. We work with both cases and we’re equally comfortable doing it whichever way works for you.
Once we understand what the positions and the agreements are, we’ll prepare the petition and all the other required documents, and then file with the court. Once it’s filed, we’ll have a case number and the judges sign. Then we can prepare the final documents; the consent decree, the property settlement agreement, the parenting schedule that includes legal decision making, holiday schedule and regular parenting time. Then, also a child support order. The property settlement agreement contains the orders on the alimony or the spousal maintenance. Just so you understand, it’s not necessary that we have child support in every case, or that we have spousal maintenance in every case. Sometimes the agreement is that there won’t be any. Sometimes the facts lend itself to a case in which each parent is equally capable of supporting the children, and make approximately the same amount of money and do equal parenting time.
There’s not always a child support obligation, but there is a child support order and that order may state that neither parent will pay child support to the other party. The same goes for alimony or spousal maintenance. While it needs to be addressed in the court order, it could be that neither spouse will pay alimony to the other spouse. When you have an attorney draft up your paperwork, you’re going to make sure that all of these issues are covered and they’re set forth in sufficient detail. Then, once all the paperwork is prepared, we’ll have both spouses come in. We’ll have the spouse who is the respondent sign the waiver of service. And then they can sign the consent decree, the property settlement agreement, and the parenting time child support order. And then we sit on it for about 60 days, because in Arizona there’s a 60 day cool down period.
After that 60 days, we can send it to the judge. The judge will review it, sign it, and typically we have those back within about two to three weeks, depending on the judges schedule. You can avoid having any hearings in court. And you and your spouse can start working on the terms of your divorce immediately after you sign the property settlement agreement, because it will be in a contract. And then once the court signs it, it will be finalized and you can be single persons. If this is something that you are interested in doing, please give us a call. We’d be happy to sit down with you alone, or you and your spouse together, and talk about the details and determine if an uncontested divorce is best for you. Thank you.
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