Joint Petition for Divorce / Uncontested Divorce

People always want to know what is the least expensive and fastest way to get a divorce. The answer for most people is a joint petition for divorce. I routinely help people with these either in the context of mediation or in the representation of one of the parties.

So now that you know the joint petition aka uncontested divorce is usually the most cost-effective solution to divorce I will explain to you what it is. A joint petition for divorce is a petition signed and filed by both of the parties that signals to the court that you have already worked out all matters relative to custody, support and property division.

Most people do not file this type of complaint until all of the aforementioned matters have been agreed upon and memorialized in a separation agreement, which is also submitted to the court at the time of filing. However, you technically have 30 days to file the separation agreement after you file the petition.  The courts are then obligated to give you a hearing within 30 days of receiving all the necessary documentation.

The documentation needed to file a joint petition, includes; the petition, affidavit of irretrievable breakdown, 401 financial statements, parenting certificate, statistical forms, and an executed separation agreement, and child support guidelines.

Some courts allow you to have a hearing on the divorce petition the same day it is filed, but others will assign a hearing date within 30 days of filing. The hearing itself usually lasts about five minutes from start to finish.  The judge will review your separation agreement to make sure it is fair and reasonable. Then the judge will ask you questions about whether or not your marriage is irretrievably broken and whether or not you signed the separation agreement knowingly and voluntarily.

The main drawback to the joint petition for divorce is that it takes and extra 30 days before you are officially divorced. The total waiting period is 120 days from the date your separation agreement is approved by the court.