How Is Child Custody Handled in an Uncontested Divorce?

How Is Child Custody Handled in an Uncontested Divorce?
Dec 02, 2019
The Harr Law Firm

Parent holding hand of child in warm coatUncontested divorces can greatly reduce the emotional strain, as well as the financial burden, on all parties involved. These types of divorces tend to move much more quickly and much more smoothly than the typical divorce proceedings. If you’re pursuing an uncontested divorce, you may be wondering how child custody is handled in such cases. Here’s what you need to know.

You Must Agree on Every Matter

The term “uncontested divorce” means that every aspect of the divorce must be uncontested. This means that you and your spouse must agree on every matter pertaining to child custody. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Physical custody arrangements (where the child will live)
  • Legal custody (who makes important decisions for the child)
  • Visitation rights
  • Shared custody schedule
  • Child support payments
  • And so on

If there is even a single matter on which you and your spouse cannot agree, then an uncontested divorce is not actually possible. Of course, you could choose to pursue mediation or arbitration to settle any difference you may have, rather than proceeding to the divorce court. If you can come to an agreement using these other avenues, you can still file an uncontested divorce once the agreement is reached. If not, you’ll need to bring your case to a judge.

Additional Filings Are Required

While filing an uncontested divorce is always easier than dragging it through the divorce courts, an uncontested divorce with children does take a bit more time and work than one without. You’ll need to file some additional paperwork when submitting for your uncontested divorce to ensure that all matters pertaining to child custody and child support are handled properly.

You’ll need to outline all of the details relating to the child’s living situation going forward, and may be required to complete a parenting plan. You will also need to take the time to calculate an appropriate amount for child support from the non-custodial parent. It’s extremely important that these additional filings are handled properly and filled out completely, so be sure that an attorney helps you to complete them, or at least review the paperwork after you’ve filled it out.

It Will Need a Judge’s Approval

Even if you agree on every matter completely, your settlement and your final divorce will still need to be approved by a judge before it’s finalized. However, this typically isn’t a problem, and a judge will only intervene in your agreed-upon arrangements if the settlement is clearly unfair to one party. Or, in the case of a divorce involving children, they may intervene if they notice an issue with the child custody arrangements that could have a serious negative impact on the child or children in the relationship.

However, in most cases, a judge will simply look over and sign off on your uncontested divorce settlement. Then, after the state-mandated time period has passed, your divorce will be considered final.

Advantages for Your Children

It is not only the parents who benefit from an uncontested divorce. In addition to saving both you and your spouse time, stress, and money, an amicable and speedy divorce is also extremely beneficial for your children. Long, drawn-out divorces that are fraught with arguments and battles over every asset are extremely stressful and emotionally taxing for children of all ages.

It is far better for children if their parents can negotiate and handle matters pertaining to the divorce in a calm and mature way, and keeps the children from feeling as if they’re trapped in the middle of an ongoing battle. If you and your spouse aren’t fighting, then your children don’t feel as if they need to pick sides, and you can both maintain strong, healthy relationships with your children throughout this process. If you and your spouse have children together, you should consider whether or not an uncontested divorce is possible, for the sake of your children.

No matter how amicable your divorce is, or how much you and your spouse agree on matters, it is still extremely important that you work with an attorney when negotiating and filing your uncontested divorce. An experienced divorce lawyer will ensure that your rights are protected, and that all matters are handled properly so that your divorce can be finalized as quickly and smoothly as possible.

If you need assistance with an uncontested divorce, or have other questions pertaining to child custody or child support, please feel free to reach out to one of our attorneys and schedule a consultation today.

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