Divorce papers are documents stating that a divorce is desired and outlining the reasons for filing. These documents must be filed in every divorce case in order for the divorce to be legal. The serving of these papers can be very emotionally charged and so is often not a welcome moment. However, this is not necessarily the case with an uncontested divorce.
More often than not, when a couple reaches the point where divorce becomes their best option, one spouse will file for divorce with the county clerk and then documents are served to the other spouse. The spouse who receives the papers may then choose to contest the stated reasons for divorce and then further legal action would be required. In an uncontested divorce the spouses create a final settlement agreement, so that no legal battle is necessary.
The assumption may be that if the divorce is not contested, then filing divorce papers isn’t necessary. But legal papers are required in every divorce case, whether or not it is contested, in order to ensure that both spouses address and abide by the many legal issues. Only when final papers are accepted by the court can the divorce actually be finalized.
In this situation, the papers are a formality, but an essential one. Even in the “friendliest” of divorces, having the details in print can actually make things easier to bear, as it signals in a very real way that the hardest part of the process is over.
After the formal serving of divorce papers, in most cases the two parties enter a “waiting period”. This is a specified amount of time required by most legal jurisdictions during which the spouse who was served has the opportunity to answer the specifics of the divorce agreement. Most jurisdictions usually set aside 30 days for this period. The spouse who has been served can file a response within those 30 days either agreeing to the terms or arguing them.
If the divorce is contested a court hearing will then become necessary in order to get a legal ruling. This can sometimes become a lengthy and ugly process, with a lot of enmity between the parties. Much time and money can be saved if the spouses can agree on an uncontested divorce. With both spouses in agreement, all that is required is for the spouse who is served to sign the divorce papers and submit them within the 30 day waiting period.
After the formal filing of the divorce papers, each spouse will need to disclose financial information including income, assets and expenses so that a divorce settlement can be worked out. In the case of a divorce that is not contested, the last of the paperwork can then be filed and the divorce will be finalized.
As painful as divorce may be, it is necessary to make sure that everything is handled properly in order to ensure that there are no further complications down the road. Taking the extra time to make sure all the t’s are crossed and all the i’s are dotted when you file for divorce will make things easier on everyone in the long run.