Uncontested divorces differ from contested divorces in that both parties have already reached an agreement as to how their case will be settled. The marital settlement agreement is drafted and filed at the same time the pleadings are filed. This process eliminates a significant amount of paperwork and shortens up the time in which you can obtain a final judgment. However, while many people believe their divorce will be amicable and uncontested, there are frequently issues that arise that make even seemingly uncontested divorce cases contentious and more complicated.
Keep in mind that even when divorces begin contested, they can be amicably resolved as an uncontested case during the pendency of the divorce. Both parties are frequently ordered to attend mediation, which is a process involving a neutral third party, known as the mediator, that is unable to make decisions for you or provide legal advice, but assists in facilitating an agreement as to at least some of the issues in your case. If the mediation process is unsuccessful, your case can still be resolved amicably out of court by signing an agreement known as a marital settlement agreement, a stipulation, or a mediation settlement agreement.
Any settlement agreement that resolves all of the issues associated with the divorce is the most important document that will be filed in your case. This agreement must be very thorough and detailed and resolve all issues in your case, including custody, child support, property division and any other issues. It also must be drafted properly and approved by the judge. If this agreement is not adequately prepared, a judge may not approve the agreement and issues may arise in the future that may be extremely difficult to modify or enforce.