What is an Uncontested Divorce?
An uncontested divorce is a type of divorce where spouses agree on all the major issues. There are usually some details to work through, but in an uncontested case an agreement is reached early on, typically before any paperwork is filed with the court.
Major benefits of Uncontested Divorce:
No Court Dates
In Washington, if you can reach an agreement you can finalize your divorce without going to court.
LOW Cost Solution
On average, contested divorce costs over $27,000, uncontested divorce costs less than 10% of that.
Once an agreement is reached your paperwork can be ready and filed with the court in a few days.
About the process
What to expect from an uncontested divorce
We handle uncontested divorce in three steps. First, we’ll email you a list of divorce specific questions, which you’ll answer online. Second, we’ll use your responses to draft the necessary documents, which will be ready to review and sign in a few days. Third, we’ll file the paperwork for you, so that a judge can approve the divorce without a court date.
Uncontested divorce means that both spouses agreed to the divorce terms outside of the court system. An agreement can be reached informally between the spouses, through early mediation or with the assistance of an attorney.
“I encourage clients who are on good enough terms to still work with their spouse to try to reach a fair agreement on their own. Once they have the foundation in place, an attorney can be a big help with implementation and ironing out the specifics.”
People refer to uncontested divorce in many ways such as agreed divorce, amicable divorce and mutual divorce. The common theme of each name is that the divorce is peaceful and low conflict.
You do not have to go to court if you file an uncontested divorce. However, in order to not have a court hearing you need to do one of two things.
Your first option is to can hire an attorney to finalize your uncontested divorce for you. In order to finalize an uncontested divorce locally, agreed orders need to be presented to a judge in ex parte court. In most counties your attorney can do this for you. However, if you have children you’ll still need to attend parenting classes before the case can be closed.
Alternatively, you can file your uncontested divorce by mail. This is a good option if you live in a Washington county that doesn’t allow an attorney to finalize the divorce without you or if you’d rather skip parenting classes.
Two Washington counties process divorce by mail and neither require court appearances. They also don’t require parenting classes. Once the court receives your forms in the mail they’ll set a review date. A judge will review your papers on that day without a hearing.
Most uncontested divorces in Washington take just over three months. However, in the majority of cases you’ll only need to budget a few days to work through them.
First, you need to reach an agreement, which is the step that is unpredictable. Finding common ground is the hardest part of divorce and can take time. The good news is once you have an agreement in place the paperwork can be prepared and filed within a few days.
After the paperwork is filed, the divorce is scheduled and will be finalized three months later. Washington imposes a 90 day waiting period on any newly filed divorce, whether agreed or not. This means that a judge can’t review your agreement until 90 days have passed. This waiting period accounts for the majority of the uncontested divorce timeline.
Expect to pay between $1000 and $3500 for your uncontested divorce. If you feel like your case is relatively simple you’ll be at the low end of that range. If you have a large family or complex assets the costs will be on the high side.
Children increase costs because of the importance of parenting plans and child support calculations. Complex property like real estate or pensions can increase costs as well, since extra steps need to be taken to divide those assets.
The nice thing about uncontested divorce is that the process is predictable. Because of this, your attorney should be able to give you an accurate estimate of the cost once they understand your situation. For more details on pricing, refer to our pricing page.
Is an uncontested divorce right for you?
Take the quiz to see if you qualify for an uncontested divorce.
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