Uncontested or No Contest Divorce
We’ve all heard horror stories of long, drawn-out court dramas: hotly contested divorces in which both parties clash on almost every topic, from major issues of home ownership and alimony payments to minor spats over sheet sets, silverware, and home décor. Every married couple’s nightmare is the thought that—should they ever separate—things might get ugly. Fortunately, with patience and careful planning, a couple can seek a peaceful, uncontested divorce and shield them from a lengthy battle.
In the realm of family law, a no contest divorce—otherwise known as an “uncontested divorce” or “no fault divorce”—is a method of legal separation or divorce in which both parties agree upon their settlment terms and are not required to appear in court (regardless of the grounds for divorce). In Oregon, families may use Co-Petition forms to keep filing fees down and avoid serving the other spouse if everything is agreed upon at the start of the court filing process.
Once both spouses have agreed to the divorce, they are required file a Petition or Co-Petition for Dissolution and come to a settlement agreement addressing the distribution of assets, any support to be paid, and allocation of any debts. So long as both parties are able to reach an agreeable settlement and the judge deems the terms acceptable, a divorce will be granted. There is no waiting period in the state of Oregon and residency requirements are that one party must live in Oregon for at least six months prior to the court filing. Child jurisdiction requirements are a bit more complex, so it’s important to seek legal advice if there are questions in this area.
A no contest divorce has a number of benefits, not least of all the financial aspect of not having to spend money hiring adversarial lawyers. Perhaps most importantly, a no contest divorce spares the family the emotional and mental stress of a long and messy court case and can mean a better understanding between the former spouses with regard to interactions with shared adult children or friend groups. By taking the time to discuss your situation and make a collaborative agreement, you might also find that your relationship with your former spouse can even be friendly and better afterward.