One can proceed with a divorce action in one of two ways: 1) contested or 2) uncontested. In a contested action parties come to the court with most if not all of the issues unresolved. In an uncontested action, parties have resolved all issues and come to the court to have the divorced finalized based on the agreement the two parties have reached.
Ideally an uncontested divorce will proceed in the following manner: 1) One files the Summons and Complaint for Divorce; 2) One’s spouse acknowledges service of the Summons and Complaint; 3) One’s agreement is reduced to writing and executed by both parties; 4) a final uncontested hearing is scheduled; and, 5) Parties attend the hearing and obtain the Final Judgement and Decree of Divorce. A Summons, Complaint, Acknowledgement and Agreement may also be filed at the same time.
The key to the uncontested divorce is the Agreement. If both spouses have already discussed the terms of settlement and are in agreement as to what those terms are, the divorce proceed uncontested. The agreement should address all issues of division of property (both real and personal), assets, alimony and if the parties have children the agreement should also address custody and child support.
Keep in mind that the terms of an agreement will be unique to the parties’ particular circumstances. When proceeding uncontested, remember that it is important that each party knows exactly what his or her rights are so that the agreement is fair and parties are protected.