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Divorce Litigation Guide (Part 17): Uncontested Divorce and Switching Away from Litigation

Equitable DistributionTo support clients in search of solutions to their family law issues, Mr. Darren M. Shapiro recently releases blog posts and articles with extra guidance into the complexities of divorce, and surrounding issues. Although the articles available on this website are often helpful for clients, these bullet-point guides can combine various ideas into smaller, bite-sized chunks.

In this series of guides for divorce litigation, Mr. Shapiro is covering common topics like equitable distribution, maintenance decisions, and spousal support. This segment addresses the concerns of uncontested divorce and how it may be possible to switch away from litigation and into other forms of dispute resolution like divorce mediation for example.

Defining Uncontested Divorces

An uncontested divorce is a solution that can speed up the divorce process in New York for couples who agree on all of the components they need to cover at the end of a marriage.

  • Uncontested divorces happen when spouses have settled all the issues required to dissolve the marriage. The couple no longer has any arguments to make about things like equitable distribution and support payments. The couple must agree on all points for the case to be deemed completely uncontested. If anything is met with a disagreement from the other party, litigation, collaborative law, or mediation may be necessary.
  • One of the first topics often discussed in a divorce case is the grounds for calling an end to a marriage. No fault grounds exist in New York, which means that neither spouse must take responsibility for the marriage coming to an end. The marriage may simply have broken down to a point where it’s no longer feasible.
  • Children in a marriage can make it difficult to proceed with an uncontested divorce, as parenting time and custody arrangements often lead to disagreement. If the couple can come to agreements about child custody and maintenance issues, then the court will need to sign off on that agreement.
Documentation for an Uncontested Divorce

Various documents need to be addressed for a divorce case to be completed. Mr. Shapiro can assist with the procurement and management of these documents.

  • The first document required for any divorce case is the summons. When a couple or individual decides to work with a divorce attorney like Mr. Shapiro, divorces can begin when one person files a summons with notice in the supreme court. Summons can be filed with complaints in some cases, but a notice allows for the complaint to be delivered at a later data. Summons with notice documents must outline the divorce grounds, which is often “no fault”.
  • Summons with notice documentation also needs to include descriptions of any ancillary relief requested, maintenance, and child support. Notices of automatic orders, guideline maintenance, and notices concerning healthcare are required with the summons. These orders allow for people to maintain a status quo until courts order specific outcomes, or the couples create an agreement for what happens next. Verified complaints should also be filed in divorce law, defining things like residency requirements, and requested relief.
  • If someone represents themselves, an affidavit of regularity is necessary, whereas affirmations are required for those working with attorneys like Mr. Shapiro. The presence of the defendant in the divorce case will determine whether a defendant affidavit is necessary. A defendant in a divorce case can request which documentation they want to receive when a divorce ends. Defendants can also choose to waive the service of additional papers.
  • Settlement agreements are common in divorces, and they outline ancillary relief agreed upon, like custody, child support, parenting time, and equitable distribution. The findings of fact and conclusions in divorce law are documents signed by a judge and prepared by the attorney submitting for the case. These determine the granting of the divorce. Children involved in any case mean that terms regarding custody and parenting are essential.
  • Certificates confirming the dissolution of a marriage also need to be submitted at the close of the divorce. Some other forms that may be required include child support information, worksheets, qualified child support orders with medical information, support collection sheets, and so on.
Can You Switch Away from Litigation?

Litigation may be the only option for some couples seeking a divorce. If you’re unable to come to terms about the end of your marriage with your spouse in an amicable or mediated manner, then you’ll need to rely on litigation. However, there’s always a possibility to consider other options for alternative dispute resolution:

  • Divorce litigation is an expensive, time-consuming, and often exhausting process. Although it may be the only option for some couples, it’s not right for everyone. Mediation sessions can be a more appealing choice for many couples who want to save time and money during their divorce. Some couples can also consider collaborative law.
  • Through mediation sessions, it’s possible for a divorce mediator like Mr. Shapiro to guide couples through a process that allows them to agree on things like equitable distribution and spousal payments. Mediation can help for an uncontested divorce to take place, and attorneys can draft documents for the court to approve following the agreements.
  • Both mediation and collaborative law offer an excellent alternative to couples who want to avoid the discomfort of litigation. However, it is still essential for couples to work alongside dedicated attorneys or mediators to get the right results.

If you have any questions relating to the above information, please contact Mr. Darren M. Shapiro to discuss arranging your initial consultation session for your own divorce or family law case. Free consultations are available for up to 30 minutes, and it’s recommended that mediating couples attend the initial consultation together.

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