Matrimonial and Family Law Blog

Monday, April 22, 2019

What is a non-contested divorce?

New York divorce laws permit spouses to end a marriage without alleging fault or contesting any of the issues related to the marriage. The laws also allow spouses to obtain a divorce on grounds such as adultery, abuse, or abandonment without going through costly and time-consuming litigation.

A non-contested divorce or uncontested divorce is the quickest, easiest, and least costly way to end a marriage in New York.  However, that fact does not mean you do not need to consult a New York family law lawyer.  Many individuals rush to a settlement in a non-contested divorce only to find out later that the settlement was not in their best interest.

Uncontested Divorces vs. Contested Divorces

For an uncontested or non-contested divorce, both spouses must agree to all terms of the divorce. If the spouses disagree on any single matter, the divorce is contested. In a contested divorce, the spouses must appear in court and present evidence supporting their allegations. After hearing the evidence, a judge issues an order settling all matters before the court.

Matters that must be settled before the divorce petition is filed in an uncontested divorce include custody, visitation, child support, alimony, and property division. In most cases, a non-contested divorce is filed as a no-fault divorce action because the petitioning spouse is not required to provide evidence of wrongdoing to obtain the divorce.

It is possible for a contested divorce to be settled before the judge issues a final ruling. Through mediation or negotiation, the parties may resolve their differences and petition the court to enter an order approving a settlement agreement. However, the advantages of settling differences and filing an uncontested divorce encourage some spouses to mediate their differences before filing a divorce petition.

Advantages of Filing a Non-Contested Divorce

Time and cost are two of the top benefits of filing for an uncontested divorce. Litigating a divorce action increases the expense for each party. It also lengthens the time it takes to obtain a divorce in New York. However, time and cost are not the only two benefits of a non-contested divorce.

An uncontested divorce can be much less stressful on the parties and less emotionally disturbing for the entire family. The parties can also use mediation or negotiate through their attorneys to work out an agreement that is best for their family. A judge does not know the parties before they enter the courtroom. Therefore, the judge only knows what is presented by the parties. Agreements outside of a courtroom can be tailored to the family’s needs. Parties have much more flexibility for an agreement in an uncontested divorce action.

Consulting a New York Family Law Attorney About Non-Contested Divorces

A divorce may begin amicably but turn into a contested matter very quickly. Schedule a consult with one of our New York family law attorneys as soon as you contemplate separation or a divorce action. Understanding your options and your legal rights ensures that your best interests and the best interests of your children are protected throughout the divorce proceeding.

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