What are the steps to complete an uncontested divorce?

The Law Office of Jeffrey Esser offers flat attorney fee arrangements to represent you in an uncontested divorce from start to finish. It covers all work from the start of your case, until you get your divorce judgment. For more info on what’s included, go here: ###-LINK-###

The key to an uncontested divorce is to start a Settlement Agreement before the case is filed with the court. This  guarantees there is nothing to fight over and makes sure that the only time we must go to court is to finalize the divorce.

Here is how the process works:

In-person consultation

Whenever possible, I like to meet with clients in person before all parties agree on the working relationship. This is a chance for us to meet each other to make sure we want to work together, and to be sure that an uncontested divorce is the appropriate for your case. During our first meeting, we will complete a divorce questionnaire with all of the relevant information to start your case.

Draft the Settlement Agreement

Next, I’ll draft a Marital Settlement Agreement according to what we discussed in the first meeting. This step usually takes about two to four days as the provisions of your Settlement Agreement are tailored to your case.

You’ll find online divorce services that promise to create divorce documents on the spot or within a few hours. These services require you to enter your case-specific information into the website and pre-programmed cookie cutter documents are generated.

Review and negotiate the Settlement Agreement terms

When your Settlement Agreement is ready, I will ensure that you review it before sending to other parties involved. This is an opportunity for clients to add items they wanted to address but forgot to mention in the first meeting.

Once I get your approval, I will the send the Settlement Agreement to the your spouse’s attorney and start the negotiation process that ends in a finalized Settlement Agreement.

Sign the documents and file the case

If both parties agree to the language in the final draft Settlement Agreement, it’s time to sign the documents and file the case with the court. After your case is filed, the court date can be scheduled within two weeks.

Appear in court for Prove Up

One (but not both) of the parties in the divorce must appear in court to testify before the judge, who will approve the Settlement Agreement. This court date is called a “Prove Up.” You can read more about a Prove Up here: https://www.esserlegal.com/prove-ups/

Post-judgment tasks

After the Prove Up, there are usually a few tasks to complete. In all cases, the transcript of the Prove Up must be purchased and filed with the court. If one party wants to resume using their maiden name, a certified judgment must be purchased from the clerk’s office. Learn more about changing your name here; ###LINK###

Note that in some cases, there are post-judgment tasks that are not included in the standard flat fee. For example, if a retirement account must be divided by a separate court order, or if the title to a house needs to be transferred, additional attorney’s fees may apply.