It is not uncommon for the courts to reject divorce filings by pro-se litigants for corrections or clarifications or to gather additional information. Do not be surprised or alarmed if your papers are rejected by the courts. It is not unusual, and it is usually easily correctable.
However, if the court rejects your papers because of issues related to the grounds, custody, child support, spousal support, or visitation, be advised that Premier Paralegal will charge additional fees accordingly to address and resolve the court’s rejection!
In an uncontested case, your spouse is given the divorce documents and your spouse does not oppose the divorce. This can be done in two ways:
By Consent/Agreement: Your spouse signs the forms we prepare called AFFIDAVIT OF DEFENDANT AND STIPULATION OF SETTLEMENT. When your spouse signs the AFFIDAVIT OF DEFENDANT, your spouse is acknowledging receipt of the divorce summons and stating that he or she does not intend to contest the divorce. When your spouse signs the STIPULATION OF SETTLEMENT, you spouse is agreeing and consenting to all aspects of the divorce with you.
By Default: Your spouse will not sign any documents. Your spouse is formally serviced with the divorce summons, and then fails to file a formal response (“Notice of Appearance”) within up to 30 days of being served. There is also a mandatory 40 day additional waiting period for default cases.
Generally speaking, it has been our experience that in cases where there is no marital property to be divided, state-mandated guideline amounts of spousal support and or child support are requested, and no unusual custody or visitation issues are raised, the divorce is usually granted on the documents alone, and no appearances are ordered by the court. If complex property division issues (“equitable distribution”) exist, you have unusual custody and visitation issues, or you seek Temporary Maintenance and Post Divorce Maintenance or child support amounts that deviate from the New York State guidelines, the court may order a hearing (“inquest”) to help it decide how these issues should be resolved, or the court may ask you for additional information before making its decisions.
In cases where ANY assets or debts are involved, and or children UNDER THE AGE OF 21 are involved, you and your spouse must usually sign an agreement called a “Stipulation of Settlement” in order for an uncontested divorce to proceed without the parties possibly having to appear in court. This agreement sets out how you and your spouse have agreed to resolve the issues of equitable distribution of assets and debts, custody, visitation and child support. If the court approves of the agreement the judge will incorporate the terms of the Stipulation of Settlement into the judgment of divorce.
How will you divide your assets and debts accumulated during the marriage?
Will there be Temporary Maintenance and or Post Divorce Maintenance (commonly known as ‘alimony’ or “spousal support”), and if so, how much and for how long?
If there are children, who will have custody? What about visitation and parenting time with the kids? What about child support?
Because divorce law can be complicated, you should meet with a lawyer before you use Premier Paralegal services – even if you think your divorce will be uncontested. If you and your spouse have resolved all financial and parenting issues, and you do not have a lawyer, Premier Paralegal can help you.
If you have parenting or financial issues to work out, you may want to consider alternative dispute resolution (ADR) processes like divorce mediation or collaborative family law. These out-of-court processes often save time and money, reduce stress, and even improve relationships between parents and their children after divorce. ADR may not be appropriate in cases involving domestic violence, child abuse, or where one spouse cannot locate the other.
RULE #1: Consult with an attorney if you have any legal questions.
RULE #2: If your spouse hires an attorney, let Premier Paralegal know immediately.
RULE #3: If you receive ANYTHING in writing from your spouse or your spouse’s attorney, let Premier Paralegal know immediately.