Do I have to go to court if my divorce is uncontested?

Gavel and Scale

One of the common questions asked by a husband or wife going through a divorce is whether a court appearance is required if neither side is contesting the divorce.

Family courts see dozens of parents and spouses fighting about custody, child support, how to divide property, and other issues on a weekly basis. The reason those people are at the courthouse is because they have been unable to resolve their differences outside of court, such as at a settlement conference, mediation, or even across the kitchen counter from one another.

Judges generally do not require divorcing couples to appear before them to finalize a legal separation or divorce. A motion for a divorce decree can be filed “off docket” as long as all necessary documents are properly filed and signed (including by a notary in certain situations).

The difficulty for most people is getting their spouse to see eye-to-eye on all issues stemming from their marriage, as even if the parties agree on 99% of the proposed divorce terms, they may have to go to court to resolve all issues. Having an experienced divorce attorney not only increases your chances of not having to go to court by ensuring that divorce documents are properly filed and submitted to the judge, but also to help solidify an agreement on all aspects of your separation or divorce that are important to you.

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