What is an Online Uncontested Divorce?

Lainie Petersen

In an online uncontested divorce, both spouses are in agreement about all aspects of their divorce and prepare their divorce forms via an online service. These documents are then filed with the appropriate court so that the divorce can proceed. While online contested divorce forms are completed online, the actual process of getting a divorce usually requires one or more trips to a courthouse for the purpose of filing divorce papers and appearing before a judge at a divorce hearing.

A couple may prepare their divorce forms online.
A couple may prepare their divorce forms online.

While some divorces involve considerable conflict between spouses, others are amicable. Sometimes spouses mutually realize that their marriage is not working and seek to end it amicably and quickly. In such cases, they may decide to avoid using lawyers and instead come to an agreement about the terms of their divorce on their own. While it is possible for non-lawyers to file their own divorce by using courthouse forms, some online uncontested divorce services provide form-completion services in order to help laypeople avoid common mistakes in filing their divorce papers.

A divorce may be ruled as uncontested if divorce papers are filed by one spouse and the other fails to officially respond.
A divorce may be ruled as uncontested if divorce papers are filed by one spouse and the other fails to officially respond.

To use an online uncontested divorce service, a couple, or a least one spouse, must typically fill out an online questionnaire. The questions that they will need to answer vary according to jurisdiction, but usually include requests for identifying information, such as the name, birth date, and address of each spouse. The person completing the application typically will have to state the grounds for divorce and explain the couple's plans for dividing their finances, whether either will receive ongoing spousal maintenance, and child custody and support decisions.

While some online uncontested divorce services are not affiliated with a law firm, others are and may offer clients the option of having a licensed attorney review the forms to ensure that the couple won't have any difficulty obtaining their divorce. Some law firms now offer a hybrid surface in which a client completes the forms online, a lawyer reviews the forms, and then the lawyer meets the couple in court to represent them in front of a judge. In other cases, the couple may choose to represent themselves in court with no support from a lawyer. In general, divorcing without a lawyer can make good financial sense as it enables the couple to avoid legal fees. Getting the advice of a lawyer, however, even in an online uncontested divorce, may also make good sense if there is any concern that one spouse might be financially exploiting the other.

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