Helping You Navigate Through Your Uncontested Divorce with Ease
The divorce lawyers at Hodgson Law Office have decades of experience. They tailor their approach to your unique situation.
When you need an aggressive advocate, they will fight any issues you need to contest. But when you want a skilled negotiator, they can work in a conciliatory and cooperative way to work out a mutually agreeable solution.
Whether you need help in court, mediation, or negotiation, we provide honest and transparent representation during this distressing time.
What Is Uncontested Divorce?
A divorce ends your marriage and returns you to the status of a single, unmarried person in the eyes of the law. Before this happens, a court must wind up all the issues in the marriage and determine whether the ex-spouses will have any dealings going forward.
Not all divorces involve conflict. A low-conflict divorce happens when you and your spouse work out the terms of your divorce.
You can think about an uncontested divorce as a mutual divorce where you and your spouse settle your differences rather than fighting over them. Specifically, an agreed divorce resolves all of the following family law issues through negotiation rather than litigation:
If you believe you and your spouse can agree on these terms, an amicable divorce may be possible.
Uncontested vs. Contested Divorce
The opposite of an uncontested divorce is a contested divorce. In a contested divorce, you and your spouse battle in court rather than negotiating with each other and entering into a settlement.
Specifically, you and your spouse have incompatible positions on child custody, child support, property division, or spousal support. A family law judge resolves the disagreement through contested divorce proceedings in which each spouse presents evidence and legal arguments in support of their positions.
Major Benefits of Agreed Divorce
Many divorcing spouses pursue uncontested divorces for their tangible benefits, including:
- No court appearances since a judge can approve the terms of your settlement from written filings.
- Lower expenses because spouses can submit joint filings rather than opposing each other's filings.
- Smaller bills for divorce lawyers to negotiate a deal instead of fighting in the court system.
- Shorter divorce case since you do not need hearings or a trial to resolve disputes.
An uncontested divorce also has many intangible benefits. You will likely experience less conflict with your spouse, which may, in turn, reduce the stress on you and any children. You also have a chance to create a win-win solution rather than getting stuck with a winner-take-all solution that might happen in a contested proceeding.
Uncontested Divorce Process in Spokane
The steps for an uncontested divorce include:
- Filing a divorce petition;
- Negotiating the settlement;
- Filing the agreement with a proposed final decree.
If you and your spouse agree at the start to file an uncontested divorce, you will file a joint divorce petition with the court. However, some spouses decide not to contest the divorce only after one spouse has already filed the petition. In this case, the non-contesting spouse can file an agreement to join the already filed petition.
Requirements for Amicable Divorce in Washington
Once you and your uncontested divorce attorney negotiate a settlement with your soon-to-be ex-spouse and their uncontested divorce lawyer, you file the agreement with the court, along with a proposed final order. This agreement will address such issues as the parenting plans for the couple's children, child support amounts, debt division, and the division of marital assets.
Judges review the filings to ensure:
- The agreement meets the legal requirements for a divorce in Spokane, WA.
- The terms are fair to both spouses.
- The final order protects the children's best interests.
Courts typically approve agreements unless they have glaring inequities for the parties involved.
Why Should I Hire a Family Law Attorney If I Am Getting an Uncontested Divorce?
You might find the legal services a lawyer provides helpful even in an uncontested proceeding. A divorce lawyer can explain your rights, so you know if an uncontested divorce works for your situation.
The lawyer will also negotiate on your behalf to make sure you get a fair outcome by protecting your personal property and custody or visitation rights. Finally, an experienced divorce attorney will work with your spouse's lawyer to draft a final decree that avoids any major issues that might cause a judge to deny it.
Have Questions About the Uncontested Divorce Process?
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Do I have to go to court for an uncontested divorce?
Usually not. Once you file your settlement and proposed final order, the judge will review them to ensure they comply with Washington law, appear fair to both spouses and protect the children. If the judge has questions, you may need to attend a hearing to explain the divorce's terms.
How long does an uncontested divorce take in Washington State?
A no-fault, uncontested case in Spokane, WA, usually takes at least a few months to complete. For simple cases where the spouses agree on terms relatively quickly, the case may end in as little as 90 days. If your uncontested case involves complex issues, it may take longer.
What is the average cost of an uncontested divorce in Washington State?
The attorney's fees for marital dissolution will depend on many factors, including the complexity of the matters and the time needed to negotiate and draft the settlement. But in almost every situation, uncontested cases are more cost-effective than contested cases.
Does it matter who files for divorce first in Washington State?
It can matter in contested cases. If every family member involved in the case is a Washington resident, the filer picks where to file. This "home court advantage" saves you the time and expense of traveling to another county. But in uncontested cases, you usually have no trial or hearings.
Can you get an uncontested divorce online?
Yes, in most cases. You and your family law firm can prepare the petition for divorce and file all the paperwork online. The judge can also issue the final order online. But in some situations, the judge may have questions and set a hearing where you must appear in person.