Uncontested Divorce Process
This blog only describes the process of an uncontested Divorce and does not discuss what an uncontested Divorce is.
If you and your spouse have agreed to an uncontested Divorce then the first step is filing a petition. Once a petition is filed this starts the timer for the mandatory 60 day waiting period. A true uncontested divorce petition should be very vanilla and it usually lets the court know that the parties will agree on the issues.
After the petition is accepted by the Court Clerk then it is given a cause number. After the cause number is assigned then the attorney can begin to draft the related documents for a divorce.
In any lawsuit the other party is entitled to notice by citation. This means that you ask the clerk to make a citation explaining that the other party is being sued and they have 20 days plus a Monday to file an answer. Citations are really not used in uncontested cases.
In an uncontested divorce an attorney will draft a waiver of service. This essentially lets the Court know that you swear you have received the petition, you know that a divorce has been filed and you do not need to be served by a process server or neutral third party. Since it is a sworn statement it will have to be signed in front of a notary and be notarized.
The next step is the drafting and signing of a Final Decree. This is a court Order that explains all the agreements you and your spouse have made. Both parties need to sign this decree and if there are more than one lawyer on the case then all the lawyers too.
The last step is called a “prove up.” This can happen as soon as the 60 day waiting period is over. Usually only one party walks down to the Judge with their attorney. The attorney will ask a standard set of questions. Then if the judge is satisfied with the testimony the Judge will sign the Decree and it will become a Court Order and it gets filed with the Court. It’s good practice to make sure to get at least one certified copy while you are at the Courthouse because this ensures that the Order has been scanned in. That’s it the Divorce is finalized. Depending if there are auxiliary documents like deeds or vehicle transfers then those can be completed before or after the decree is entered but you will be officially divorced once the Judge signs the Order.