Marriage is one of the oldest and must universal institutions in the world, designed to unite a man and woman together into a single household that will produce and raise children. Some parts of the world today have also recognized same-sex marriage, and many same-sex households may adopt children. But the legal end of a marriage, divorce, is also common today. Estimates say that at least 40% of all marriages in the United States today end this way, and that may involve other parties such as divorce lawyers, family lawyers, child custody attorneys, and others. But not all marriages are so hotly contested or complicated. In many other cases, an uncontested divorce takes place, which might not even require the help of lawyers at all. But what is uncontested divorce? Someone wondering “what is uncontested divorce” may want this reference if they are planning a divorce or if their spouse has just filed for divorce. In short, what is uncontested divorce, and how does it relate to divorce courts, lawyers, mediators, and other parties?
Why Divorce Happens
Many studies and surveys are done to track how Americans date and marry, and many studies also track how often and why those relationships might end. On the list of most common reasons for divorce, infidelity is the top reason, when a spouse is unfaithful to the other and is caught somehow. Men and women may cheat, though not always for the same reason. The emotional trauma of discovering an affair can be serious, and if marriage counseling cannot save the relationship, then legal separation or divorce might be next. Meanwhile, many other marriages end in divorce because one spouse is abusing drugs or alcohol, which may cause a personality change, put a serious financial strain on the household, and even cause abusive behavior. With or without substance use, meanwhile, some spouses are violently, verbally, or even sexually abusive toward members of the household, and that may cause a divorce.
Not all divorces are so dramatic, however. Some couples seek divorce simply because they realize that their personal compatibility is low after all, or they realize that they have very different spending and lifestyle habits. Often, these low-intensity divorces may call for mediators rather than expensive lawyers. Other divorces, though, may involve a lot of assets and thus call for legal help.
Getting a Divorce
Once a spouse has resolved to file for divorce, they may turn to divorce attorneys for help, not to mention a divorce court, if they feel the need. This might be done for a divorce where many assets may be at stake, and the spouse expects to face a contested divorce. This spouse may visit local divorce law firms and consult the lawyers working there (this may or may not incur a fee), and hire one. As the divorce papers are filed, the other spouse may hire their own divorce lawyer, to legally represent and defend their own interests in the divorce. Through their attorneys, the spouses may fight over bank accounts, a house or vacation home, vehicles, family jewelry or heirlooms, and under-18 children. Child custody lawyers in particular may be used in the latter case. It may be noted that if one spouse is being abusive toward the other, then the abused one may relocate to a private residence during the divorce case, and bring their children with them. That spouse might interact with the other only through their lawyer.
What about low-intensity divorces, and what is uncontested divorce? This describes a majority of divorces, where the spouses are indeed getting divorced but can agree fairly easily on how to handle the assets and living conditions of everyone involved. Often, these spouses will enter divorce court already knowing the details for their case, and there will be little legal fighting over assets and children. This may make the process relatively fast and inexpensive. If a mediator is hired, the two spouses may negotiate with each other over the divorce’s details themselves, and not go through a court at all. The mediator’s job is to stay neutral and encourage each spouse to come up with fair and productive ideas, and communicate clearly. Often, this is cheaper and more private than using a divorce court and hiring lawyers.