In most cases, an uncontested divorce is possible when both spouses or partners can mutually agree to resolve the significant issues of their divorce, including:
- how parenting time and responsibilities will be shared
- the duration and amount of child support to be provided
- the duration and amount of alimony to be provided, and
- the division of property and debt.
The uncontested divorce process is easiest when a couple has no children or minimal assets or property. It also works well when each individual is either currently self-supporting or capable of becoming self-supporting. However, even if you and your partner or spouse have minor children and/or substantial assets, an uncontested divorce is still feasible if your lines of communication and mutual understanding are open and accepting to one another. If both of you are desiring an uncontested divorce, but having some minor disagreements, divorce mediation may be a helpful way to negotiate problem areas. Using the services of a divorce mediator will increase the costs, but it is less expensive that going through a full contested divorce process.
The Advantages of Filing an Uncontested Divorce
The primary advantage of filing an uncontested divorce is the cost. Uncontested divorces are typically much less expensive than divorces which involve court appearances and numerous hours spent with divorce attorneys. Even when attorneys are assisting with negotiations or paperwork preparations, the overall fees will be lower when an agreement can be met without having to settle disagreements through court proceedings. The secondary benefit of an uncontested divorce is that the reduced level of conflict between the two individuals helps with the long-term healing process and allows both individuals to end their marriage in a less acrimonious manner. It is also beneficial for minor children as they will experience less fear and concern about their parents and family.
Situations When an Uncontested Divorce Isn’t Beneficial
However, there are situations when an uncontested divorce is not an ideal solution for ending a couple’s marriage or domestic partnership. Couples who have complex financial situations and significant disagreements may not be able to reach the common understanding necessary to file an uncontested divorce. When there are major imbalances in financial or emotional power, such as when a spouse earns significantly more than the other, or there are concerns or allegations of domestic violence, it may be more difficult for the parties to reach a full agreement and it is advised that each spouse have their own legal representation to ensure that the divorce process is handled fairly and justly and without fear of retribution.
Additionally, an uncontested divorce may not be realistic when the parties are so estranged from each other that communication between them is nearly impossible. If a spouse refuses to discuss divorcing, or if a spouse has a high level of anger due to infidelity, or family or financial issues that have contributed to the couple seeking a divorce, having individual legal representation, as well as full court proceedings, may be the only way to obtain the divorce.
Can an Uncontested Divorce be Handled Without a Divorce Attorney?
In Colorado, couples who have agreed to an uncontested divorce and the terms of it, may have the option to file their paperwork jointly without the need for legal representation. It is also common for the divorcing couple to agree to the uncontested divorce terms and then one spouse hire an attorney to prepare the paperwork. This option does have some risks, as the hired attorney can only act on behalf one spouse, therefore placing the other spouse at a potential disadvantage unless they have a solid understanding of the law. In these cases it may be to the benefit of the unrepresented spouse to hire an attorney to review the agreement to ensure it articulates all of the agreed upon points in an accurate manner before the paperwork is finalized and filed with the court.
If you live in the Fort Collins or Larimer County region of Northern Colorado, you and your spouse may file for an uncontested divorce as long as you have resided in Colorado for more than 91 days. The Colorado Court website offers instructions for filing a divorce in Colorado and provides links to some of the paperwork and forms you may need to begin the process. You may also contact us for additional resources and information on uncontested divorce.
Seeking an uncontested divorce can be simple and inexpensive, and it affords you and your spouse the opportunity to end your marriage in a quiet and relatively peaceful manner. While an uncontested divorce may not be the right path for every couple, it is certainly a worthy avenue to explore when seeking to dissolve your marriage.