When the parties in a divorce case have reached an agreement on how to end their marriage, a marital settlement agreement is drafted that reflects those terms along with a proposed judgement and parenting plan for the court to review and approve.
In some cases, particularly if neither party is represented by an attorney, the Court will conduct a brief hearing to review the settlement and enter judgment.
The hearing is typically brief, less than a half an hour. Both parties are sworn in and then asked to confirm the terms of their agreement and that they would like the judge to enter the judgement and approve the settlement agreement.
One advantage of hiring an uncontested divorce attorney, is that most courts will skip the settlement hearing as long as at least one party is represented and both parties submit an affidavit to the court asking for the judge to conclude the case.
The short answer to the question “What does ‘uncontested divorce’ mean?” is that a husband and wife agree that they no longer want to be married to each other and agree on exactly how they wanted to conclude their marriage before they file any documents with the Court asking it to dissolve their marriage.
Sound simple? Well, that’s because it is. It can be a very easy way to get divorced. Uncontested divorce is by far the easiest and cheapest way to get divorced in Missouri.
Here is what needs to be decided between the divorcing spouses:
- That the marriage is irretrievably broken.
- How to divide the marital property including personal property, household goods, real property, retirement plans etc.
- Whether one or both parents will make major decisions on behalf of any children.
- A parenting schedule that lays out when each parent has custody of the children.
- If one parent will need to pay child support to the other, the amount and method of payment. (To learn how child support is calculated in Missouri, click here).
- If one spouse needs Maintenance (Alimony) and for how long.
For most couples with simple assets and no children this should be easy to negotiate if both spouses are interested in saving time and money in the divorce process.
Uncontested divorce is also a really good option for couples with children and simple assets who are willing to work together to make a parenting plan.