Dedicated Lawyers in Charlottesville, VA Guide Your Uncontested Divorce
Personalized representation from experienced divorce attorneys
Not every divorce has to be a battle. At Joseph & Mische, P.C., we are focused on getting our clients the most favorable terms for their divorce in the shortest amount of time with the least amount of stress and expense. We draw on more than 70 years of combined family law experience to help our clients simplify the dissolution of their marriage by obtaining an uncontested divorce. Although there are challenges to the process, we are often able to negotiate solutions to seemingly insurmountable problems.
Benefits of uncontested divorce in Virginia
Uncontested divorce means you don’t ask the court to rule on any disputed issues. You and your spouse come before the judge with a signed marital settlement agreement, instructing the court on how you want your ancillary issues — alimony, child custody, child support, and property division — settled. If the agreement gets court approval, the judge incorporates its terms into your divorce decree. The benefits of this process are many:
- Quicker — You don’t have to wait for an opening on the crowded court schedule, so you can hold negotiation/mediation sessions on your own time, at your own pace.
- Less stressful — You can work on your settlement in a less adversarial setting, in complete privacy. You don’t have the burden of proving allegations; you simply focus on finding solutions.
- Confidential — Unlike in a court hearing, there is no public record of your settlement talks.
- Less expensive — Going to trial always raises the costs, not just for the court appearances, but for all the discovery work that must be done to prepare for trial.
- More control over the outcome — Rather than hoping a judge rules in your favor, you and your spouse reach a compromise that prevents an adverse ruling either way.
Throughout the process, we look out for your interests by explaining the legal implications of various settlement proposals. With close personal attention, our family law attorneys help to ensure what you decide will be manageable for you and acceptable to the court.
How to know if you are a candidate for uncontested divorce
Achieving a divorce without litigation requires a certain level of respect and cooperation. For that reason, couples who have a history of domestic violence are not good candidates for uncontested divorce. But, if you can honestly answer yes to the following questions, uncontested divorce might be appropriate for you:
- Are you ready to focus on the future rather than rehash the past?
- Can you speak calmly and candidly to your spouse about your goals?
- Are you willing to listen patiently to your spouse?
- Are you willing to put your children first in custody discussions?
- Are you willing to concede the importance of your spouse in your children’s lives?
Couples without children and those who have little property have the easiest time getting an uncontested divorce. But, if you are willing to commit to a process of negotiation or mediation, you may be able to reach an agreement even for complex circumstances.
Basic steps to an uncontested divorce in Virginia
Once you decide you want to pursue an uncontested divorce, here are the basic steps you must take:
- Retain an attorney — An experienced divorce lawyer can help you avoid costly mistakes and delays, and assert your rights during settlement negotiations.
- Speak to your spouse — Let your spouse know you want an amicable, cooperative process for dissolving your marriage.
- File no-fault — You must file a Complaint asking the court to dissolve your marriage. To qualify for a no-fault divorce in Virginia, you must have lived apart from your spouse for at least one year if you have children or six months if you have no children. Some couples negotiate or mediate a settlement even before filing their divorce petition. If you’ve done this, you can submit all your paperwork at this time. If not, you’ll have to arrange for someone to serve your spouse with the Summons and Complaint.
- Negotiate or mediate a settlement — Traditional negotiations involve talks where each spouse has an attorney present. In mediation, you and your spouse meet with a neutral third party, the mediator, who guides you toward a settlement. You then take the proposed settlement to your attorney for review. Mediation sessions continue until you have a final agreement.
- Present your settlement agreement — If all goes well, you may be able to present your marital settlement agreement by the deadline for the Respondent spouse to Answer the Summons and Complaint. If talks take longer, your spouse can file an Answer, and you can present the agreement to the court when your first hearing date comes up.
When spouses commit to the uncontested divorce process, their divorce can often be finalized within a few short months.
Trust our Charlotte family lawyers to help you obtain an uncontested divorce
If you and your spouse are candidates for the uncontested divorce process, the dedicated attorneys at Joseph & Mische, P.C. can guide you successfully through the process. Call our Charlottesville office at 434.260.8749. You can also contact our firm online to schedule a confidential appointment.