What is an Uncontested Divorce?
The very word “divorce” conjures up images of bickering, fighting, and drawn-out court battles. But what if you and your spouse are in agreement, not just about the need to divorce, but on all the terms? You are probably candidates for an uncontested divorce.
If you meet the criteria for uncontested divorce, you could wind up saving time, money, effort and stress.
Dissolution by Joint Petition in Minnesota
A common type of uncontested divorce in Minnesota is known as dissolution by joint petition. The primary requirement is simply that you and your spouse agree on all of the terms of your divorce. You are both considered petitioners for the dissolution, and you must have reached an agreement on all the terms of your divorce before filing your petition.
It is also possible for an uncontested divorce to proceed by default. Sometimes, one spouse files the documents needed to commence a divorce, serves the other party, and the other party fails to file an answer within the thirty days allowed. Other times, the parties agree on all terms, one party files, and the other deliberately doesn't respond.
No matter how your uncontested divorce proceeds, however, the terms of the divorce need to be memorialized in an agreement that the judge will sign, making it an order, the “private law” governing your divorce. As with any law, the more clearly and comprehensively it's written, the less potential there is for confusion about what it means and fighting over it later.
This is where a lot of couples go wrong. In an effort to save money, and without much legal knowledge, they attempt to write the agreement themselves. As the saying goes, however, “You don't know what you don't know.” Many couples think the document they've prepared fully and faithfully represents their agreement, only to find out too late that it wasn't as clear or as thorough as they thought. Then their previously amicable relationship may fracture, and they may need to spend time and more money than they saved initially in order to resolve their dispute.
Do I Need a Lawyer for an Uncontested Divorce in Minnesota?
That's why it's helpful to have an experienced Minnesota divorce attorney on your side for an uncontested divorce. You want to be sure that you understand all the rights and obligations imposed by your divorce agreement and that your related divorce documents are drafted properly. You and your spouse may agree, but you may not understand all the legal implications of your agreement without an attorney's guidance. An experienced Minnesota family law attorney can also ask you questions you may not have thought of to make sure your agreement addresses situations that could arise in the future.
If you'd like to learn more about uncontested divorce in Minnesota, we invite you to contact Bloch and Whitehouse, P.A. at (952) 224-9977 to schedule a free initial consultation. We look forward to answering your questions and helping you choose the best divorce process for your needs.