In the simplest terms, an uncontested divorce means that both parties agree that the marriage is and should be ended. In many states, a finding a fault is required in order for a court to enter an order dissolving a marriage. Missouri is a no-fault state.
Missouri law requires no finding of fault. Once all of the jurisdictional requirements are met, a Missouri court will enter an order dissolving a marriage if the court finds the marriage is irretrievably broken and that there is no reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be preserved. If the matter is uncontested, that is to say, if both parties acknowledge that the two aforementioned criteria are true, the court is likely to enter an order of dissolution of the marriage. However, there are many other potential issues in a divorce, such as property division, maintenance (alimony), child custody and child support.
Many attorneys advertise uncontested divorces, or non-contested divorces for a relatively low flat fee. Usually, this means that the parties are in agreement about all of the potential issues. The attorney will typically draft all of the required forms and pleadings and make sure all of the required procedure is followed. The drafts will be presented to the client and his or her spouse for review. Once the parties agree, they will sign the documents before a notary and the attorney will file the documents with the proper court.
Under such circumstances, it is possible to bet a divorce finalized without either party ever having to appear in court. The process can take as little as 45 days in Missouri.
While an uncontested divorce is generally the cheapest and most efficient way to go, it is important to consult an attorney to make sure you know all of your rights in each specific situation. In a perfect world, all divorces would be uncontested. This article is not meant as legal advice; rather it is intended as general information. When considering a divorce or any legal action, one should always consult with an attorney to protect their interests.