Welcome to FreeDivorce.com.
Christina: This is Christina.
Ed: This is Ed. Today, are going to discuss the different types of divorces and how they are processed in different ways.
Ed: Christina, what are the different types of divorce cases?
Christina: There are three kinds of divorces: 1) Uncontested divorce; 2) default divorce; 3) contested divorce.
Ed: What is an uncontested divorce and how do you process an uncontested divorce?
Christina: An “uncontested divorce” is when you and your spouse are able to agree on all issues. You are able to agree on how to divide your property and on spousal support. If you have minor children, you and your spouse are also able to agree on child custody and child support. If you can agree on all of these issues, then getting divorced is just a matter of reducing your agreement to writing and filling out a collection of court forms. You then file all your paperwork with the court clerk. A judge will review your paperwork and, if it is in order, the judge will sign a “Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage”, which we sometimes also refer to as a “divorce judgment”. There are no court hearings for uncontested divorce cases. It is simply a matter of filling out paperwork and filing that paperwork with the court.
Ed: What is a default divorce and how does processing a default divorce differ from processing an uncontested divorce?
Christina: A default divorce is different than an uncontested divorce. There are two types of “default divorces” and the two types are processed in different ways. The first type of default case is called a “Default with an agreement”. The second type of default case is called a “true default”.
Ed: What is the difference between a “Default with an agreement case” and a “True Default” case?
Christina: A “default with an agreement” is very similar to an uncontested divorce. You and your spouse are able to agree on all issues. You reduce your agreement to writing and fill out a collection of court forms that you will file with the court. However, you are going to take one extra step. You are going to take your spouse’s default for the sole purpose of allowing your spouse to avoid paying a “first paper” filing fee to the court. Filing fees can be expensive, costing hundreds of dollars per person. If you and your spouse don’t qualify for a fee waiver, you will both have to pay filing fees, unless you process your divorce as a “default with an agreement”. You can process your divorce as a “default with an agreement” case and avoid the filing fee for your spouse by simply filling out one extra simple court form. We explain the extra step you need to take to process a “default with an agreement” case in a later video. There are no court hearings in “default with an agreement” cases. Again, getting the divorce judgment is simply a matter of filling out the proper paperwork and filing that paperwork with the court.
Ed: If a “Divorce with an agreement” case is just like an “uncontested divorce” case, but with an extra step to avoid a filing fee, what is a “true default” case?
Christina: A “true default” divorce is when your spouse refuses to participate in the divorce process. Your spouse won’t negotiate with you. After you have served your spouse with your Divorce Petition and Summons, he or she ignores the paperwork and does not file a Response with the court. If this happens, then 30 days after you served your spouse with your Petition and Summons, you can have the court clerk enter their default. You will then fill out additional court forms in which you tell the court about your assets, debts, and both parties’ incomes. You then fill out more court forms to make a proposal for how the court should divide assets and debts, decide child custody, and decide about child support and spousal support. The court then reviews your paperwork and issues a default Judgment of Dissolution. There are no court hearings. We explain the additional steps you need to take to process a “true default” case in a later video.
Ed: What is a “contested divorce” case and how does it differ from an uncontested divorce and a default divorce?
Christina: A contested divorce case is a lot different than an uncontested divorce or a default divorce. In a contested divorce, you and your spouse can not reach an agreement on one or more issues. Perhaps you can’t agree on any issues. In a contested case, you can have multiple court hearings. There is typically a hearing at the beginning of the case where the judge issues temporary custody and support orders to maintain the status quo while you wait for a trial date. Then, there is a settlement conference where a judge or court staff meets with you and your spouse and tries to help you negotiate a settlement. A contested case that does not settle concludes with a trial. At trial, a judge listens to testimony from both parties and then makes decisions about all of the contested issues. We explain the additional steps you need to take to process a contested case in a later video.