Even though the number of divorces has decreased recently, over 500,000 divorces occur annually in the United States. When two people agree on everything (a settlement is reached) or when one side files for divorce and the other never replies or shows up in court, the divorce is said to be uncontested.
At least 86% of divorces end in agreement between the parties, but many begin as disputed and end that way as well.
Everything you require to know about uncontested divorces is contained in this site.
The Process of an Uncontested Divorce
The quickest and most straightforward divorce process is an uncontested divorce. You might not really know going into divorce procedures whether yours will be uncontested, though, as it can be difficult to anticipate in advance if a divorce will settle or one side won’t reply.
Uncontested Divorce Conditions
There are two ways to get a divorce without a fight.
The first is when both parties reach a mutual agreement on every aspect of the divorce, including division of joint debt, custody and visitation of the children, spousal support (formerly known as alimony), and marital property. All of their agreements are included in a settlement, agreement, or stipulation that the couple files with the court.
The second scenario is when one spouse files for divorce and makes particular requests (such child custody or home ownership), and the other spouse does not show up in court or reply to the divorce papers. The court determines whether the filing spouse is entitled to what they have requested once the case moves forward without them.
Procedure for an Uncontested Divorce
By reaching a settlement, a couple can move forward with an uncontested divorce if they can agree on every aspect of the divorce. State laws differ, but generally speaking, a couple that is in agreement puts their arrangement in writing (either using forms, independently, or with assistance from an attorney or other expert).
The terms will be approved by the judge when both parties have informed the court that they agree to them. There may be just one quick court appearance required.
In the event that a hearing is necessary, the court will interrogate each party to ensure that everyone is aware of the terms they are consenting to.
Similar procedures apply to the other uncontested divorce process. The divorce papers are filed by the petitioner and served to the respondent. After that, the respondent is given a window of time (10 days to a few weeks) in which to either file a response or show up for a scheduled court hearing.
The remaining matters will need to be resolved in court if the parties are unable to come to an agreement after making every effort to do so and perhaps consulting with lawyers or mediators.
Benefits of an Uncontested Divorce
An uncontested divorce has two key benefits: it saves you money and time.
If a settlement is agreed upon, it can be submitted in a matter of weeks and granted court approval in a matter of months. This is in contrast to the months or even years that a disputed divorce may need.
Divorces that are concluded amicably also save you money. It will definitely be less expensive to reach an agreement without one partner employing legal counsel if you can reach a consensus on everything without their involvement. You will save a great deal of money by avoiding a trial, even if both spouses retain legal counsel.
Your divorce will go quickly and cheaply if your spouse does not reply to your file. There won’t be any discussions, trials, or disputes. You won’t have to pay much for your legal representation—even for a quick court appearance and paperwork preparation. Additionally, your divorce will be handled swiftly.
Attorneys Are Required in an Uncontested Divorce
In theory, a divorce doesn’t require legal counsel. Divorces and other civil proceedings may not always come with an automatic right to counsel, unlike criminal prosecutions. But generally speaking, an attorney might be more helpful the more complex the divorce.
An uncontested divorce may involve a complex asset distribution, joint ownership of several homes, child support and custody, spousal maintenance, and a host of other potentially challenging issues. It is only necessary for both sides to concur on every matter.
To assist you reach a settlement in a complex divorce, you will probably require attorneys and potentially professionals.
When the parties are coming to a divorce agreement, it’s important to keep in mind that some issues are governed by the law rather than the agreements between them. For instance, parents are typically required to use a formula for determining child support.
You can get legal advice regarding these regulations. You never know if your partner won’t answer when you file for divorce, which could result in an uncontested divorce. Generally speaking, it is a good idea to have an attorney draft your paperwork so that you make sure you are asking for everything you are entitled to and that, in the event that they do not reply, you have everything you need.
In cases when serving your spouse with the papers proves to be challenging, using the assistance of an attorney might facilitate the application of other service options that North Carolina may permit.
Frequently Asked Questions About Uncontested Divorce in North Carolina
1. What is an uncontested divorce?
An uncontested divorce means both spouses agree on all issues, such as property division, alimony, child custody, and support.
2. What is the residency requirement for filing an uncontested divorce in North Carolina?
At least one spouse must have lived in North Carolina for six months before filing for divorce.
3. Can you explain the filing process for an uncontested divorce in North Carolina?
File a Complaint for Absolute Divorce with the county court, and include a separation agreement if agreements on issues have been reached.
4. Is there a waiting period for uncontested divorces in North Carolina?
Yes, there is a one-year separation period required before filing, unless certain fault grounds apply.
5. How is property division handled in uncontested divorces in North Carolina?
Spouses can agree on property division in a separation agreement, subject to court approval.
6. What about child custody and support in uncontested divorces?
Custody and support arrangements, if applicable, can be outlined in the separation agreement.
7. What is the final step to complete an uncontested divorce in North Carolina?
After the one-year separation, file a Motion for Summary Judgment to finalize the divorce.