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An uncontested divorce is when partners are seeking to terminate their marriage and agree on each and every item and issue related to the ending of their marriage. This does not necessarily mean that the divorce is friendly, but merely that all disputes between husband and wife were resolved outside of the courtroom.
In order to start an uncontested divorce, state laws will ask that the couple must have grounds for a divorce. Grounds are another way of saying a valid reason for the uncontested divorce, as authorized by the laws of the pertaining state. While the state laws are constantly under review, and revisions are always in the legislature pending approval, some of the following reasons are currently accepted in some states:
Adultery is one of the main grounds for an uncontested divorce in most states. Separations in the form of desertion for at least 12 months, or 18 months of continuous separation, with no reasonable prospect of reconciliation are grounds for uncontested divorce.
Forms of extreme cruelty defined as any physical or mental cruelty that endanger the safety or health of the plaintiff or make it improper or unreasonable to expect the plaintiff to continue to live together with the defendant, as well as drug addiction or habitual drunkenness for a period of 12 or more consecutive months are grounds for an uncontested divorce.
Additional grounds for an uncontested divorce include institutionalization for mental illness for a period of 24 or more consecutive months, imprisonment of the defendant for 18 or more consecutive months, and deviant sexual conduct voluntarily performed by the defendant without the consent of the plaintiff.
Once grounds for an uncontested divorce are established, the next step is to agree on the tangible products of the marriage. Most couples don't fight over the reason for the divorce, but they usually disagree over property, alimony, and child support and child custody and visitation issues. In order to follow through with your uncontested divorce, you will need to resolve all of those issues.
The majority of divorces actually are uncontested divorces in the sense that very few cases actually go to trial. Frequently, the people enlist the assistance of attorneys, but over time all of the issues are resolved and they proceed with an uncontested divorce.
Regardless, you and your spouse need to resolve all of the secondary issues. All assets need to be divided including personal property, real estate, automobiles, bank accounts, pensions, 401-K and divide all of the debts from mortgage, credit cards, tax liens, etc. in other words, what is known as equitable distribution.
An uncontested divorce requires that you decide whether there should be alimony, and if so, how much and for how long. If there are children, you need to decide where the children will live primarily, and where they will call their second home. You also need to resolve how much child support will be paid. In the child support issue, make sure you take into account the sharing of day care expenses and uninsured medical expenses. Also, you may want to discuss, or at least agree to discuss at some future date, the issue of college and related expenses for the children.
Now you know why divorce can be so expensive. Obviously, the more cooperative you and your spouse are, the less expensive and traumatic this experience is for everyone.
Once you have resolved all of those issues, you need to put them in writing. Attorneys call the written agreement by names such as "Property Settlement Agreement." Once the agreement is typed up, make two more copies of it. Now, you and your spouse each sign all three copies, in the presence of witnesses who also sign the agreements.
Once you have met the specific criteria for one of the grounds for uncontested divorce mentioned above, you can file for divorce. Your divorce should proceed relatively smoothly from this point forward. When you get to the final divorce hearing, make sure you provide the third copy of the Agreement to the Judge as proof that there are no issues for him or her to resolve other than whether you are entitled to an uncontested divorce.
If you need help filing for an uncontested divorce, contact an experienced divorce lawyer today. An experienced divorce lawyer can answer any question regarding your specific states laws and help you expedite your uncontested divorce.
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Child custody rights may be shared by both parents or, primary child custody rights may be awarded to one parent or legal guardian. Since the 1970s the family court will award child custody rights contingent with the best interests of the child.
Child custody for fathers following a divorce is one of the most important aspects of a dissolving marriage. Throughout history the legal presumptions about child custody for fathers has changed significantly. Before the twentieth century children were regarded as the property of their father. Under common law, child custody for fathers was commonly awarded, as children were considered a father's rightful property. A major shift occurred after this period in history, as family courts came to favor mothers in child custody cases. It was presumed that under normal circumstances, children did better when placed in the sole custody of their mothers.