Understanding what an Uncontested Divorce in DC actually is will help you as you move forward. It is best for both you and your spouse to reach a settlement if possible and file for a simple Uncontested Divorce. Be aware that even though you and your spouse may have kept all of your finances separate, such as your bank accounts, retirement accounts, and credit card accounts, the balances may still be considered marital property and/or marital debt. This can be confusing. It is a common assumption that if everything you have is separately titled and you have no joint accounts that you each leave your marriage with what is in your sole name.
Everything accumulated during your marriage (assets and debts), whether jointly or separately titled, can be considered marital. Even if you and your spouse have agreed to each keep whatever you have and not ask for anything from the other…..it is best to protect yourself with a written Agreement. These Agreements may have different names, such as Separation Agreement, Separation and Property Settlement Agreement, or Marital Settlement Agreement. No matter what the name they accomplish the same result, that is to resolve all the issues arising as a result of your marriage, including a division of your assets or a waiver of rights to your spouse’s assets. It is not enough to assume you are protected because your spouse says he or she does not want anything from you.
It is always a good idea to speak with a family law/divorce attorney to determine whether you need a written Agreement prior to filing for an Uncontested DIvorce or whether you are protected without a written document. An Agreement can be drafted even if you are not separated for at least six months. You can prepare an agreement immediately after separating so you are ready to file when you have been separated for six-months (if the separation is mutual and voluntary) or one year (if one of you does not agree that the separation was mutually agreed to).
The goal is to remain amicable and reach an agreement in which you either divide your assets or waive rights to certain assets or a combination of both. To be able to determine the best way forward it is important to know your rights so you know what you might be waiving rights to. Then you can move forward with an Uncontested Divorce when you are ready and have met the separation period requirement.