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New York Uncontested Divorce Frequently Asked Questions

What Is an Uncontested Divorce?

An uncontested divorce is one in which there is not a disagreement on issues such as custody, child support, division of property, debt allocation and maintenance. Because these issues have been settled, there is no need to litigate them in court. As a result, typically the judge will simply sign off on the terms and issue a final decree of divorce. If one of the parties fails to show up for the divorce hearing, the court may consider the divorce uncontested and issue the final divorce decree.

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What Issues Must We Agree on to Get an Uncontested Divorce?

To get an uncontested divorce, you must agree on

  • Desiring the divorce
  • The grounds for divorce
  • Property division
  • Alimony
  • Child custody
  • Child support
  • Child visitation

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What Can We Do if We Can’t Agree on Everything?

Rather than moving to a contested divorce, you can have a collaborative divorce, where the parties openly communicate and work together to come to an agreement with the help of specially trained collaborative divorce attorneys.

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When Is a Contested Divorce the Only Option?

An uncontested divorce is not possible when any of the key divorce issues just discussed are a topic of disagreement. If you also cannot reach agreement with a collaborative divorce, a contested divorce is your final option.

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What Is the Process for Getting an Uncontested Divorce in New York?

Getting an uncontested divorce is cheaper and faster than a contested divorce. After one of the parties files for divorce, you file streamlined paperwork stating grounds for the divorce and giving information relevant to property and child custody. If both parties agree on everything, or even if your spouse does not respond or appear at the hearing, the court will grant an uncontested divorce.

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What Are the Advantages of an Uncontested Divorce?

There are a number of advantages to getting an uncontested divorce in New York.

  • It’s faster, because there are fewer proceedings and negotiations. You can move on with your lives much sooner. You can avoid much of the stress of a contested divorce, which involves all the processes of any litigation: discovery, calling expert and character witnesses, making motions, introducing documents into evidence and testifying
  • An uncontested divorce is much cheaper, even if both parties have attorneys, than a contested divorce, due to lower court costs but primarily due to lower attorney fees.
  • It’s more harmonious and less likely to engender bad feelings than a contested divorce, which is important if you have children together.
  • You and your spouse maintain control. You cannot know what a judge may order.
  • Your financial documents remain private rather than becoming part of public record as they would in a contested divorce. This may be of importance to someone in business.

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Do I Need a Lawyer to Get an Uncontested Divorce in New York?

You are not required to have an attorney, but it is always wise to have legal counsel to protect your interests.

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Can an Uncontested Divorce Become Contested?

Yes, if during the divorce process differences develop on key issues, there is sometimes no choice but to move to a contested divorce.

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What Happens if a Divorce That Starts Uncontested Becomes Contested?

It is not unusual for an uncontested divorce to become contested. Even after the couple has agreed on all major issues, when it is time to sign off on the divorce, one of the spouses may have a change of heart and refuse to sign. If this happens, the uncontested divorce will become a contested divorce and the parties may have to go through the process of discovery and litigation to resolve outstanding issues.

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What Happens at an Uncontested Divorce Hearing?

Whether a divorce is contested or uncontested, the court must sign off on the terms of the divorce and issue an order of divorce. If the divorce is uncontested, the judge will not have to make any decisions about the terms at the hearing. Instead, the judge will review the terms to which both parties have agreed and may ask a few questions. Unless the judge finds terms that are illegal, against public policy, or in some way unconscionable, the judge will sign off on the divorce.

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Can a Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreement Make It More Likely Our Divorce Will Be Uncontested if We Divorce?

Yes. If you reach agreement on key matters at a less emotional time when you are not contemplating immediate divorce, it can make a divorce much smoother and more likely to be uncontested.

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Client Reviews
My ex-husband hadn't paid child support or the mortgage on the house as he was supposed to. Stephen Bilkis and his team of lawyers were amazing. They stopped the foreclosure on the house, Got a judgment against him and most importantly kept me and my children in the house. Can't say enough good things about him in the firm their compassion hard work and dedication were exceptional. I.G.
From the very first phone call to Stephen Bilkis' office, the staff was extremely polite and helpful in assisting me. Mr. Bilkis was honest and upfront with me from the beginning in what he projected the outcome of my case would be; in the end we got better results than either of us anticipated. He was very genuine and compassionate in understanding my situation and how this legal matter could effect not only myself but my family as well. I highly recommend this law firm and will most definitely continue using them for any future legal needs. Jarrett
Stephen has handled numerous estate matters, criminal matters and family court matters effectively and with a goal-oriented approach. He gets great results and is a results-oriented attorney. Dustin