What is an uncontested divorce?
An “uncontested divorce” is the phrase frequently used when divorcing spouses agree to getting divorced and agree to all of the terms of the actual divorce decree.
Helping you reach cost-effective resolutions to property and custody issues
When a divorce is uncontested, the divorcing couple presents a signed settlement agreement to the court for its approval. Provided the agreement meets all legal standards, it becomes the basis for the judge’s divorce decree. The couple saves time and expense, and exercises greater control over the terms of the divorce than they would if they left issues up to the judge. However, whether the couple is ultimately better off depends on the quality of their settlement agreement. Is it comprehensive? Is it fair? Is it workable? An experienced uncontested divorce attorney in Salt Lake City can help you negotiate a comprehensive divorce settlement and ensure you get a fair deal. Intermountain Legal crafts workable divorce settlements to fit your unique family, career and financial circumstances.
What kind of things do we need to agree on?
In order for a case to be considered uncontested, you must agree on all issues that are included in a regular divorce process. These can include:
- Division of real estate
- Division of personal property
- Physical and Legal Custody of Children
- Incomes for Calculating Child Support
- Division of financial accounts including checking, savings, retirement, or other investment accounts
- Division of any debts accrued during the marriage (whether in both names or not)
- Personal property allocation
How does an uncontested divorce work?
If both parties agree to the terms of the divorce, the divorce petition itself may be written to reflect the parties’ agreement, thereby expediting the divorce process. Although your attorney may only represent you as the client, your attorney may still communicate directly with your estranged spouse to facilitate the uncontested divorce. Once the petition is drafted and conforms with the requirements of Utah law, your estranged spouse may sign a Consent and Waiver that allows the court to default the petition and enter the exact terms of the petition as the divorce decree.
It is always recommended that both parties obtain the advice of legal counsel prior to signing.
How long does an uncontested divorce take?
The attorneys and staff and Intermountain Legal will work quickly to draft and file a petition and other required paperwork to your specifications. The time this takes may vary based upon any negotiations required to finalize the petition with your spouse and the signing of the Consent and Waiver.
Once a petition is filed, Utah law requires the parties to wait thirty (30) days before a decree will be signed. This is a recent change in Utah law—up until May 2018, the parties had to wait ninety (90) days to finalize a divorce, even if the terms were uncontested.
If your case involves children and child support, the parties also must complete the Mandatory Divorce Orientation and Education Courses either in person at a Utah court or online. Information about these classes is available here: https://www.utcourts.gov/specproj/dived. Depending on when you take these courses, there may be a fee to complete them. The parents must also provide up-to-date income verification for the purposes of calculating child support. Without these items, the decree will not be signed by the judge.
How much does it cost?
Intermountain Legal attorneys and staff will help you with an uncontested divorce for a flat fee. There is also a filing fee for a divorce in Utah. Filing fees are subject to change but as of May 2018, the fee is $310. The fee may be reduced or waived depending on your financial circumstances and with providing the appropriate paperwork to request a reduction or waiver. To verify the amount of the filing fee, check the Utah Courts website here: https://www.utcourts.gov/resources/fees.htm.
What if my spouse and I cannot agree on divorce terms?
Sometimes the parties believe they have come to an agreement on the terms of their divorce only to learn through the petition drafting process that they do not actually agree on important issues. If this occurs, the case is likely no longer “uncontested.” Your attorney will advise that the other party obtain their own attorney to guide them through the process and your attorney will help you determine the best course of action. The flat fee paid will apply to ongoing representation under these circumstances.
Taking your “agreement in principle” to a successful divorce conclusion
When couples agree on the framework of their divorce settlement, they can substantially expedite the process, reduce the cost and lay the groundwork for productive discussions on the ancillary issues. However, since the divorce settlement, once accepted by the court, is legally binding, the couple should never attempt to finalize a divorce agreement without first consulting a knowledgeable divorce attorney. The key to a successful uncontested divorce is having a legal professional challenge your notions of what is desirable and practical, so the final agreement reflects the reality of your individual lives. Whether the couple works with a single attorney in a collaborative setting, or each spouse retains their own in traditional negotiations or mediation, professional counsel is essential.
Custom solutions to fit your individual circumstances
Intermountain Legal can give you as much or as little help with your uncontested divorce as you desire. You may have a very modest marital estate and only need to have some paperwork drawn up. You may have drafted papers and simply want an attorney to review their contents. Intermountain Legal reviews divorce documents for clarity and completeness. We check to see if your agreement anticipates changed circumstances that are likely to occur in the future. If you’ve only just begun your settlement discussions, we can represent you in proposing terms and negotiating a settlement. The choice is entirely yours: you can pay for limited, individual services, such as document review, or retain us to take your divorce from initial discussions through to conclusion.
Call our Salt Lake City divorce firm for a consultation about your uncontested divorce
Intermountain Legal takes a creative yet pragmatic approach to resolving the numerous issues that accompany uncontested divorces. Call our office today at 801-990-4200 or contact us online to schedule a 30-minute attorney consultation for $50 to discuss your family law matter.
Intermountain Legal is located in Salt Lake City, UT and serves clients throughout all of Northern and Central Utah including Salt Lake City, Midvale, Sandy, West Jordan, North Salt Lake, Bountiful, South Jordan, Clearfield, Woods Cross, Draper, Farmington, Centerville, Layton, Ogden, Lehi, Provo, Orem, Park City and Davis, Salt Lake, Weber, Utah, Tooele and Summit counties.