Uncontested divorce simply means that you and your spouse either agree to a divorce or at least there are no objections to the divorce. There are three different types of uncontested divorces.
The uncontested divorce can be on consent, which means that your spouse will actually agree to the divorce by signing the required documents. All that is needed in an uncontested divorce is that your spouse sign an affidavit and, depending on the circumstances, a stipulation in the presence of a public notary. The divorce papers, are then submitted to the court for approval.
If the spouse doesn't sign a consent to the divorce, it is still possible to proceed with the divorce on default. In order to proceed, the spouse must be properly served by a process server. The spouse being served, also known as the defendant, has 20 days to provide a written response, if served in New York or 30 days if served outside of New York. After the allowed period, if there is no written objection, the papers may be submitted to the court for processing and approval. Please note that the Court will not begin processing the divorce papers until a total of 40 days have passed since the defendant was served.
If the defendant does provide a written response within the allowed time period the divorce may proceed as a contested divorce.
Lastly, the divorce can be by publication, which means that you do not know the whereabouts of your spouse, you have gotten permission from the court to publish a legal notice, you have published the legal notice, and you have not received a response. Once the time to respond has passed, you may then submit your papers to the court for approval.
If there are children, the divorce must resolve all issues relating to the children, including custody, visitation and support. If there are assets, such as a house, issues related to the assets must also be resolved.
The time to deal with these issues is when you are seeking a divorce. If you do not exercise those rights during the divorce process, you will likely waive those rights. If you and your spouse cannot agree on how to resolve these issues, you will need to proceed as a contested divorce.
The first step in an uncontested divorce is to find an experienced attorney with whom you are comfortable. When you retain your attorney, you will sign a retainer agreement, which is a contract between you and your attorney. The retainer agreement will state, among other things, how much the attorney charges for these services. Typically, an uncontested divorce by an attorney will cost between one and two thousand dollars.
Beware of paralegal services. Paralegals are not allowed to provide you with legal advice. Many are here today and gone tomorrow. If your papers are rejected by the court because they were not properly prepared, it will be your responsibility to correct them, if possible. Further, if your spouse objects to the divorce, the paralegal will not be able to help you. Often the fee charged by an attorney is not much more than a paralegal will charge. Further, if the less expensive paralegal does not work out as planned, using the paralegal will not have been such a bargain.
There are many divorce lawyers in New York to choose from. If you are in need of a New York City divorce lawyer, please consider our law firm. Over the past 30 years we have helped more than 10,000 clients obtain a divorce. If you have further questions, call us for a free consultation.
- Our office charges a total of $1,193 (legal fee of $850 + court fees of $343) for an uncontested divorce on consent without children under 21 years old and without financial issues or property. If the divorce is on default, there is an additional $100 fee.
- Our office charges a total of $1,443 (legal fee $1,100 + court fees of $343) for an uncontested divorce on consent with children, with issues of custody, visitation and child support included, but with no other financial issues or property. If the divorce is on default, there is an additional $100 fee.
- Our office charges a total of $1,928 (legal fee of $1,550 + court fees of $378) for a divorce on consent with financial issues and/or assets. There is no additional fee if there are also children.