How Long Does an Uncontested Divorce Take?

While no couple enters into marriage ever imagining it could enter in divorce, many factors contribute to millions of marriages ending in divorce. Divorces can be emotionally exhausting, financially challenging and a very time-consuming process. Some couples are able to push aside their differences and look to go through an uncontested divorce. An uncontested divorce is a divorce in which both sides agree on the dissolution of the marriage and agree on asset dispersal.

About Uncontested Divorces
Couples that agree with the marriage ending, and have no property, debt, child support, child custody or alimony to discuss seek uncontested divorces. An uncontested divorce does not require an attorney. State laws differ about the process of uncontested divorces, but the basics are very similar across the country.

Uncontested Divorce Process
The first step in the uncontested divorce is to draft a Marital Settlement Agreement, or divorce settlement agreement. This document will divide couples assets, property and debt between the two parties. If children are involved it may also include child custody and child support arrangements. After the Marital Settlement Agreement is agreed upon, one of the spouses needs to file an official Complaint for Divorce with the court in their county or state. After the Complaint is filed with the court, the papers must served to the other space. This can occur quickly, within days or a week of filing the paper. The non-filing spouse has 35 days to respond the complaint. If there are no objections to the Complaint, a no-contest divorce can be scheduled, and should usually be conducted quite quickly. After the hearing a Judgment of Divorce will be granted.

Time Frame for Uncontested Divorces
Depending on the state in which the spouses live, uncontested divorces can take anywhere from two days to 18 months. States in which the quickest uncontested divorces can occur are Hawaii, Minnesota, South Dakota and Nevada. Maryland, New York and North Carolina require a 12-month waiting period, while New Jersey requires an 18-month waiting period from time of Divorce Complaint filing to a divorce hearing.

Children and Uncontested Divorces
If a couple has children it is best to consult a divorce attorney before any final papers are signed. States have strict laws about child support and custody issues, and both sides should be protected against unfair and illegal custody/support issues. In addition, most states will require a judge to sign off on child custody arrangement, as they will attempt to determine if it is the best plan for the children involved.

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