"Uncontested" means the issues that people often fight about in a divorce proceeding have been agreed to by the parties. So if you can come to agreement with your soon to be x-spouse on:
-Distribution of Assets including the home, retirement plans
-Who will be responsible for joint debt etc.
then you have an uncontested divorce, there is no contest between the two of you over issues of conflict.
Since Mandatory Mediation is now the norm in Polk County Iowa courts anyway, even if a case starts out contested and the parties fully intend to have a trial with the Judge deciding the case in the end, the parties are required to meet with both parties, both attorneys and a mediator and try to resolve conflicts before getting to trial. Fewer and fewer family law cases are actually resolved in court.
Problems with Contested Divorce:
1. High Financial Cost
Good divorce attorneys are not cheap and charge by the hour, often in 6 to 15 minute increments. So you provide your attorney with a large retainer, $10,000 or more is not unusual in child custody cases, and then the attorney starts to bill against it. So one 3 minute call is one 6-15 minute increment. Clients tend to find this approach very frustrating as they see their funds bleeding away with each monthly bill. Temporary orders, preliminary hearings, many calls to opposing counsel, written discovery like interrogatories, request for production of documents, depositions which may require court reporters and video technicians in some cases, trial preparation and expert witness costs often result in huge expense.
2. High Emotional Cost
Especially if there are kids involved, the emotional toll of contested divorce can be higher than the financial cost. Kids pick up on everything. They can tell how you are feeling about your spouse even if you don't say it. Too often, when we are in the heat of battle, we say things we wish we had not, it is human to do so. If instead of quarreling we choose to work things out, it accrues great benefits to the emotional health of our children.
3. Long Timelines
Contested divorce involves many long time lines for pleadings, temporary orders, discovery, hearings, trial and appeal. It is not unusual for civil litigation to go on for years. Most Iowan's would rather move on with their lives more quickly. An uncontested divorce can be completed in about 90 days and the 90 day wait may even be waived if new medical costs are upcoming, one party wants to buy real estate or needs finality for tax purposes etc. the court may approve a waiver of the waiting period.
Uncontested Divorce Process
If you decide to go forward with an uncontested divorce with Jeff's office, you can email Jeff with questions. Jeff will collect some information and get your petition and other documents prepared, get your approval and file the documents with the Court. Your spouse can accept service voluntarily without the need to pay for the Sheriff to serve. We can prepare your decree according to your wishes, get it signed off on by your spouse as well. This gives you way more time to concentrate on moving forward rather than dwelling on the past. See Iowa State Bar Association : Divorce.
See Jeff's Des Moines Iowa Divorce website. See Uncontested divorce - Chicago.