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How Long Does an Uncontested Divorce Take?

By Divorce.com staff
Updated Oct 04, 2022

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How Long Does an Uncontested Divorce Take

You’ve probably heard horror stories of divorces spanning years and costing tens of thousands of dollars to settle. These scenarios do happen, but they can often be avoided with great communication. Uncontested divorces are fairly simple, and they’re finalized faster than any other kind of divorce.

If you’re looking for an expedient divorce solution and you’re willing to communicate with your spouse, here’s what you should know about pursuing an uncontested divorce.

How Long Does an Uncontested Divorce Take

What Is an Uncontested Divorce?

An uncontested divorce is a divorce where both parties agree on everything. Although the idea of divorcing partners agreeing on everything might seem unusual, it isn’t a fantasy scenario. Plenty of people evolve from married couples into great friends.

A little bit of communication and compromise can help partners see each other’s points of view. If you’re able to agree on everything before you begin the divorce, every step you take towards finalizing your divorce is much simpler.

What’s the Difference Between a Contested and Uncontested Divorce?

A contested divorce is a divorce where both partners can’t agree on the terms of their divorce. Issues like property division, child custody, child support, and spousal support are often heavily debated during a contested divorce.

A contested divorce involves many court dates. Both parties will also have to hire lawyers to represent them. Contested divorces can last as long as two years, with each party spending as much as $10,000 in legal bills over the duration of their divorce.

If both parties can’t reach an agreement, a judge can decide the outcome of a situation and turn it into an order. It doesn’t matter if the outcome the judge decides is what either party wants.

An uncontested divorce is likely to be an expensive and stressful experience that leaves both parties unhappy.

What Are the Advantages of an Uncontested Divorce?

Uncontested divorces don’t require lawyers or court battles. With an uncontested divorce, you and your partner have a meaningful sit-down. You discuss what you’d both like and how you want things to go. After you’ve made your important decisions, you submit your desired outcome to the judge.

You’ll have a short hearing with the judge, who will ask you to swear that the information you provided is true and that you’re satisfied with the divorce terms you’ve decided. If the judge doesn’t have any more questions or concerns, you’ll be granted your divorce.

That’s the entire process. It isn’t expensive, it isn’t lengthy, and it’s far less stressful. When contrasted against a contested divorce, it’s very easy to see how an uncontested divorce comes out on top.

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What Are the Requirements for an Uncontested Divorce?

Any couple that agrees on how their divorce should be settled can file for an uncontested divorce. Each state will have requirements for the documents you need to provide and the paperwork you need to fill out for your uncontested divorce.

Your petition for divorce is the most important requirement. If you have minor children, you’ll need to fill out a form relating to child custody and a form relating to child support. You have to provide the court with your settlement agreement and some kind of financial affidavit. The affidavit necessary will depend on your state’s requirement and your income.

Always check your local laws for the full scope of necessary documents. Your local courthouse will have information. Most of the time, they list the necessary paperwork online and make it available to view and print.

The most important requirement for an uncontested divorce is the ability to communicate productively with your spouse. You have to be able to set your feelings aside and have meaningful conversations about how you’d like to move forward. Work on your communication and agree to have a smooth divorce.

How Long Does an Uncontested Divorce Take?

A lot of factors can affect how long an uncontested divorce takes. It’s not unusual to complete an uncontested divorce in as little as two months. If you’re looking to fast-track your divorce, here’s what you need to consider. It may be wise to focus on doing things right, rather than doing things quickly. Making mistakes will only cause setbacks.

Complicating factors:

  • Unexpected disagreements
  • Your local court’s calendar
  • Filing divorce papers incorrectly
  • Filing divorce papers late

Unexpected Disagreements

An uncontested divorce can only work if both partners agree on absolutely every aspect of the divorce settlement as it’s written. If there is even one disagreement, or if one partner changes their mind, you cannot proceed with an uncontested divorce.

You can begin an uncontested divorce on the same page. At any time throughout the process, your spouse can change their mind about something they agreed to. This can take you back to square one.

You can re-attempt an uncontested divorce after you’ve found a new solution, which would be an ideal outcome. If one partner’s sudden changes of heart span several issues and you can’t find common ground, you’ll have to change your divorce method.

Your Local Court’s Calendar

An uncontested divorce requires a final hearing. This hearing doesn’t take very long, but it’s necessary to finalize your divorce. Most courts have a waiting period between the time you file and the time you’re eligible for a hearing. This waiting period will vary from state to state. It can be anywhere from 30 to 90 days. There isn’t anything you can do about this required waiting period.

You’ll be given a hearing date that falls after the mandatory waiting period. You could have your hearing scheduled as soon as the day after the waiting period ends. You’d be lucky if you did. Many courts in the United States are overwhelmed, especially in major cities. If your local courts are booked solid, you’ll have to wait for the next available court date.

Filing Divorce Papers Incorrectly

If you forget to file a necessary document or if your documents are filled out incorrectly, your divorce cannot proceed until the issues are resolved.

You might be confused to find out that there are errors with your filing if it seems as though you’ve done everything right. Some forms are listed as optional or appear to be optional, but they’re actually mandatory in many cases.

Cover all of your bases and fill out every applicable form, even if it doesn’t look mandatory. If you don’t have any children with your spouse, you can obviously skip things like child custody forms or child support forms. Everything else needs to be filled out.

You may need expert assistance to assure that the court receives every necessary document and that those documents are filled out correctly.

Filing Divorce Papers Late

Your divorce can’t begin until you file the papers. If you wait a long time to file the paperwork, you’ll wait a long time for your divorce to start. You need to be proactive if you’d like your divorce to be finalized as soon as possible.

If you don’t know where to begin, Divorce.com offers tools that make it as easy as possible to begin your divorce online from home.

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Conclusion

An uncontested divorce can be completed in a matter of weeks, rather than months or years. It’s important to thoroughly discuss all aspects of your divorce with your spouse and make sure you’re on the same page. You also need to double-check all of your paperwork and assure that you’ve completed all the correct forms.

Divorce.com offers tools that make it easy to complete your divorce quickly and on your own terms.

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