Do I Have to Go to Court for an Uncontested Divorce?

Do I Have to Go to Court for an Uncontested Divorce? mike the lawyer

You can file for an uncontested divorce if you and your spouse reach a settlement agreement on all significant issues.

If you are getting divorced in Maryland, and you and your spouse reach a settlement agreement on all the significant issues — such as property division, child custody, visitation, child support, and alimony — you can file for an uncontested divorce.

If you have filed for divorce, you’ll have to attend a short hearing where a judge will review your settlement agreement, but you will not have to go through a time-consuming trial. You can save precious time and money if you and your spouse can resolve any disagreements without litigating those issues in court.

What is an Uncontested Divorce?

In Maryland, an uncontested divorce is where both parties agree on all significant elements, meaning a judge won’t need to decide for you. If you and your spouse cannot agree on specific key issues related to your divorce, the divorce is contested, and any disputes between you must be resolved in court.

It is not uncommon for couples to begin the divorce process with disagreements over certain issues. Still, the parties can resolve these disputes with the help of a mediator or divorce attorney to avoid going to trial. In some cases, when couples agree to all the divorce terms from the start, they may be able to obtain a “mutual consent” divorce, which is a quick and inexpensive type of uncontested divorce.

Requirements for a Mutual Consent Uncontested Divorce

To obtain an uncontested divorce in Maryland, you and your spouse must follow these basic steps. A divorce attorney can also protect your rights as the settlement agreement is drafted.

Settlement Agreement

Before filing for divorce, you and your spouse must create a settlement agreement to address all major issues related to your separation. This document should cover how you divide your assets and who will pay alimony. It should also address child support and custody if you have minor children. You should have an attorney review the document to ensure it is legally sound. Your attorney can also help you negotiate if you need help agreeing on certain issues.

File for Divorce

Once your settlement agreement is prepared, you must complete your divorce forms. If you seek a mutual consent divorce, you must fill out and file a Complaint for Absolute Divorce and check the “mutual consent” box. Your attorney will help you ensure all necessary forms are included in your filing, and your paperwork is properly filled out. You will then file your complaint with the Maryland Circuit Court and pay your filing fee. The court will issue a summons, and your spouse must be served with copies of the divorce paperwork. Your spouse will have their paperwork to complete and file with the court.

Attend Hearing

The spouse who filed for divorce must attend a scheduled hearing on the uncontested divorce. You don’t have to appear in court if you are the defendant or spouse who was served divorce papers. The hearing for an uncontested divorce should be very quick. The plaintiff must answer a few questions about the Complaint for Absolute Divorce. The judge will also review the settlement agreement and ensure any sections addressing minor children are in the child’s best interests. Once the settlement agreement is approved, it will be incorporated into the divorce decree. You can generally expect your uncontested divorce to be finalized within a few weeks of the hearing.

The Right Lawyer Can Make All the Difference

Hiring a lawyer should be the first thing you do when encountering any legal matter, not a last resort. Whether you’re thinking about a separation or divorce or have been charged with a crime, been injured in an accident, or your civil rights have been violated, you need to first know your rights. Contact Mike Mastracci today at 614 Edmondson Ave Catonsville, MD 21228 (with satellite offices in Ocean City, Snow Hill, and Salisbury, Maryland), 410-869-3400, and check us out on Facebook.

This entry was posted on Friday, June 28th, 2024 at 10:12 am. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.