What is Uncontested Divorce?

June 10, 2016

Columbus, Ohio divorce lawyers

Completing an uncontested divorce requires having the spouse named as the defendant affirm that he or she will not deny of the claims made by the plaintiff. Reaching that point usually takes a fair amount of negotiation and/or mediation, which is also true for other kinds of divorce and marriage dissolution proceedings. To understand why pursuing an uncontested divorce can make sense even if doing so is not necessarily “easier,” consider how other ways to end a marriage work: 

  • Annulment—getting a court to declare that a legal marriage never existed because one person entered the agreement due to fraud, coercion, or in another illegal way
  • Contested Divorce—a full civil court trial involving discovery (i.e., legally enforceable requests for information like bank records) and testimony from experts and witnesses
  • Dissolution—a negotiated settlement that both parties find mutually agreeable and which both soon-to-be exes must affirm during a hearing before a judge 

To finalize an uncontested divorce, only the plaintiff—the man or woman who filed the divorce petition—needs to go to court and appear before the judge handling the case. This factor can make an uncontested divorce the best option when the defendant cannot make it to court due to having moved out of state or being incarcerated. Similarly, if the defendant truly does not object to the grounds cited in the divorce petition and can live with the arrangements regarding property division, child custody and visitation, and spousal support, he or she may consider it a waste of time to go to court. 

Last, as implied the name, an uncontested divorce minimizes contention. Both spouses agree that ending the marriage is for the best, agree why the marriage should end, and agree how all the question raised by ending the marriage should be answered. If that does not always mean the divorce was amicable, it does prove that any animosity was set aside long enough to yield benefits for both people. 

How Can a Columbus, Ohio, Divorce Lawyer Help With an Uncontested Divorce 

“Uncontested” does not mean that no decisions need to be made or that both spouses will automatically agree that one option for, say, dividing marital debt is definitely better than another option. Consulting with an experienced and caring divorce attorney can help both a divorce plaintiff and defendant formulate proposed solutions, evaluate proposals, and review financial statements. A legal representative will also make sure that all the paperwork required by the court gets completed appropriately and filed on time with the correct officials. 

Do Any Special Rules Apply to Requesting an Uncontested Divorce? 

An Ohio uncontested divorce is not a “quickie” divorce. State and county residency rules apply. Specifically, when filing the divorce petition, the plaintiff must show that he or she has lived in Ohio for at least the previous six months. Ninety days of consecutive residency in the county where the petition is filled is also required. 

To learn about the different legal ways to end a marriage in Ohio, schedule a consultation with an Edward F. Whipps & Associates divorce lawyer. You can reach out online or call us at (614) 461-6006.

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