There are generally two options for divorcing couples in New York State: contested and uncontested divorce. A “contested divorce” is one in which the parties fail to agree on some or all the aspects of the divorce, the judge just must schedule a trial, listen to both parties, and make a ruling. An “uncontested divorce,” on the other hand, is one in which both parties agree to all issues required to dissolve their union. As such, there is no need for a trial in an uncontested divorce.
The process of filing for an uncontested divorce
An uncontested divorce process is slightly different from a contested divorce. During the uncontested divorce, the parties will be required to start by filling out a divorce settlement agreement. This document should clearly outline the specifics of the agreement and be presented before the judge. Most often, the judge will ask both parties some basic questions, like:
- Whether both parties fully understand the components of the agreement, and
- Whether both parties willfully signed the settlement agreement
The judge will then proceed to approve the settlement agreement unless they have reason to believe it is fundamentally unfair to one of the parties.
Drafting the settlement agreement
Coming up with a settlement agreement can be complicated and time-consuming as both parties have to agree to everything before presenting the final agreement to the judge. Depending on your situation, it may be worth it engaging a New York divorce attorney when drafting the settlement agreement. The attorney may also review your settlement to ensure that your rights and interests are protected. Most people engage an attorney primarily for this part of the process.
Divorce, whether contested or uncontested, can be financially, emotionally and physically taxing. If you have decided to opt for an uncontested divorce in New York State, it is crucial that you understand the state's applicable laws and procedures. To help protect your interest, it is important that you have an experienced divorce attorney in your corner during these challenging times.