The difficult decision to divorce has been made. And now you’re faced with another difficult prospect – how to obtain a divorce without losing your dignity. At Christine M. Howard, “divorce with dignity” is one of our core values. Still, we understand that divorce can bring out the worst in people, especially if it ends up with the couple going to court. One way to avoid the drama and keep your dignity intact is by choosing an uncontested divorce.

What is an uncontested divorce?

An uncontested divorce, or “simple” divorce as it is also known, is one in which both spouses are able to come to a mutually acceptable agreement about their final divorce settlement and terminate their marriage without going to court. In an uncontested divorce, the judge does not decide the terms of the divorce – you and your spouse do.

What are the grounds for an uncontested divorce?

The State of South Carolina recognizes five grounds for divorce. Four of these – adultery, desertion, habitual drunkenness or narcotics abuse, and physical cruelty – require proof of fault. The fifth ground one year’s separation – is the no-fault ground.

In order to file for an uncontested divorce, you must have lived separate from your spouse for at least one continuous year and must file for divorce under “no-fault” grounds.

What are the advantages of an uncontested divorce?

There are many advantages to an uncontested divorce, perhaps the most obvious being cost. At its simplest, an uncontested divorce can be completed by paying only the court filing fees. But even when attorneys are involved, the cost to you and your spouse can be greatly reduced if you are able to reach agreement without resorting to litigation.

Another major advantage of an uncontested divorce is reduced stress. When a divorce is contested, you are asking a court to help decide its outcome. A contested divorce can take the frustration, anger and resentment either your or your spouse feels to a whole new level. It can also take many months or years to resolve the contested issues in court. Staying out of the court reduces conflict, paves the way for a better post-divorce relationship, and allows for better co-parenting if children are involved.

Finally, an uncontested divorce is more dignified and more private than a contested one. Even though the agreements that you and your spouse come to are filed with the court and become public record, the disclosures you’ve made to one another do not need to be public.

Contact Christine M. Howard to find out if an uncontested divorce is the right option for you.