Uncontested Divorce

Do you need an attorney to finalize an amicable divorce?

What if a husband and wife have already divided their debts and assets? Is an attorney necessary if the couple have negotiated legal custody, physical custody and parenting time on their own?

It’s still a good idea to hire an attorney to draft the approximately 10 forms, totaling 60 to 70 pages of documentation, necessary to complete a divorce in Minnesota. Jessica L. Sterle can help by working for a lower fee to complete and file the paperwork so the parties can quickly divorce. Please contact Jessica’s office for more information.

Common questions about uncontested divorce

Can an uncontested divorce be a do-it-yourself divorce?

A DIY divorce typically involves three elements:

  1. Both parties must be amicable. This means you and your former spouse get along and are willing to work together to determine parenting time, where everyone is going to live, finances and more.
  2. Start by providing me with the documents on our divorce checklist.
  3. Set up an initial consultation online and fill out the consultation intake form.

Once these steps are complete, I will ensure all of the paperwork is completed correctly. I then will file the documents for you, making your divorce as simple as possible.

What is an uncontested divorce?

An uncontested divorce in Minnesota is one in which the couple has reached an agreement on all issues, including: custody of the children, parenting time schedules, child support and the division of assets and debts. The couple has no unresolved issues because they have discussed and resolved how they want to divorce, perhaps as part of mediation. Even with an uncontested divorce, it’s a good idea to consult with a local attorney to review the full settlement to ensure the agreement is fair and equitable and that no items are missing, potentially causing problems later.

What does uncontested divorce mean?

An uncontested divorce is significantly less expensive and typically resolved much faster than a contested divorce, which may require court appearances.

How can I get an uncontested divorce?

An uncontested divorce requires each person to be willing to settle outside of court. It requires the parties to be civil and work through attorneys to reach an agreement so a judge does not have to make important decisions.

Consider consulting with an attorney to determine if your divorce can be handled as uncontested and what time and costs would be involved.

How long does an uncontested divorce take?

Minnesota court rules require that if the parties have minor children and if one or neither of the parties has an attorney, only one court appearance is required. At this hearing, the judge discusses the divorce agreement with the parties and determines whether it is fair as well as in the best interests of the children.

But if the couple have no minor children and want to proceed to an uncontested divorce, no hearing is required.

In the Duluth area, an uncontested divorce that requires one court hearing can be completed in about two months. An uncontested divorce with no minor children can be completed in about one month.

In both cases, the parties are wise to have a family law attorney review the uncontested paperwork to ensure that it is completed correctly and to identify if any unaddressed legal issues. This prevents the parties from having to return to court in the future to fix problems.

How is an uncontested divorce filed?

An uncontested divorce is filed in court with paper documents or electronically to the local court administration office. Minnesota courts provide the necessary forms for parties to complete. Once the forms are complete, one or both parties can either mail or hand-deliver the documents. For those living in the Duluth area, the court administration office is on the third floor of the St. Louis County Courthouse in downtown Duluth.

A divorce attorney should review the paperwork before filing to ensure that it is completed correctly and to identify if any unaddressed legal issues, avoiding a return to court to fix problems.

Can an uncontested divorce be reversed?

Divorce proceedings can stop if a judge hasn’t signed the order granting the divorce. One or both of the parties must provide a letter to the court administration office saying one or both want to pause the divorce proceedings. A judge must review the letter before granting the request.

But once the judge signs the order granting the divorce, it is final and cannot be reversed. Minnesota law allows the divorce to be appealed. Minnesota law also gives one or both parties an opportunity to reopen the divorce in limited circumstances in cases where the agreement involved a mistake, fraud or excusable neglect.

A person anticipating going through an uncontested divorce should seriously consider consulting with a family law attorney to review the uncontested paperwork in all aspects.

How much does an uncontested divorce cost?

The cheapest divorce in Minnesota involves doing most of the work yourself. The Minnesota court system charges $375 for the parties to file an uncontested divorce. Some counties may add additional fees. St. Louis, Carlton and Itasca Counties do not charge additional fees. Parties using mediation to help them finalize an uncontested divorce will pay $500 to $1,000 for this service.

Couples that choose to retain an attorney to draft all the documents to complete a divorce may pay $2,000 to $3,000.

One or both of the parties should consider consulting with a family law attorney in order to discuss the uncontested divorce process, Minnesota divorce laws and how a potential settlement affects their rights to avoid returning to court to fix divorce inconsistencies or problems.

Are uncontested divorces the fastest way to get divorced?

Yes. You and your partner amicably work on your divorce together, avoiding waiting for a judge to schedule your case to make decisions such as how to divide assets, debts, parenting time and costs.

If you would like to talk with DIY divorce attorney Jessica Sterle, please schedule an initial consultation online and fill out the consultation intake form.