By the time you get to the point where you’re ready to file for divorce, you’re probably done with it. Odds are, you just want to get it over as quickly as possible. That’s an understandable feeling.
But in many cases, perhaps most, taking the fastest route isn’t necessarily the best idea. People often agree to unfavorable terms in custody, division of property, and other areas just to have it done. Divorce settlements have huge, lasting repercussions that can last your entire life.
It’s important to take these decisions seriously and give them the proper amount of time and attention. People often hinder their financial future and damage their relationship with their children by not fighting for custody, visitation, or assets on the table.
That said, some divorces are simple and straightforward. Depending on the circumstances, it’s often possible to end a marriage with a minimum of fuss and muss. You’re always going to deal with paperwork, motions, and other speed bumps. But if you fit the criteria, you can divorce ASAP.
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No matter what, getting a divorce takes time. The fastest way, however, is in the case of an uncontested divorce. This is more or less exactly what it sounds like.
When you and your spouse agree on everything, it’s possible to end your marriage in a relatively simple, straightforward manner. If there’s no strife or conflict, and everything is in order, you can divorce with little more than filling out and filing the appropriate paperwork, paying the fees, and waiting the requisite 90 days.
Uncontested divorce is an option for any marriage, but it works best in certain situations. It’s easiest in the case of short marriages where you don’t have any children and there is little or no shared property to divide. The simpler a case, the smoother it often goes. On the other side of the coin, the more you have to deal with, the more potential problems you face.
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Uncontested Divorce Checklist
In order to qualify for an uncontested divorce, you must meet certain criteria. It’s all fairly simple and straightforward. But here are the things you need to check off in order to end your marriage in this fashion in Washington State:
- You or your spouse are a legal resident of Washington. That may seem obvious, but it’s one of the basic requirements. Only one of you must live here in order for the courts to file for uncontested divorce.
- You and your spouse agree to divorce. Again, this may seem obvious, but both parties must agree to end the marriage. If one party doesn’t want to, that doesn’t mean you can’t—no one can trap you in a marriage—but it does hinder uncontested divorce.
- You and your spouse agree on everything. For an uncontested divorce to work, it truly has to be uncontested. This means you and your spouse must agree on everything. This includes the allocation of both debts and assets if you have any. If you have children, this means child custody, child support, and visitation arrangements. If you or your spouse contest any area, this won’t work for you.
There’s a significant reason why uncontested divorce works best in simple, short marriages: there’s less to fight over. In these situations, it’s possible to file the paperwork, wait the 90 days, and go on about your life without ever having to see your ex again.
The more there is to argue about, however, the more complicated things become. Again, there are divorces involving kids, custody, visitation, and substantial assets where people do agree on everything. But those are rare. Even when one individual initially says he or she agrees to the terms, once they get there and they realize what they’re giving up, feelings often change.
If you have questions about uncontested divorce, contact Goldberg Jones at our Seattle office.
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