Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is an uncontested divorce?
A: Uncontested is a word that is used to describe a case where the parties agree on all issues.

Q: What is a contested divorce?
A: In any family case where the parties do not have an agreement, it may be handled in a way that gives the parties a chance to settle the case. If the case can be decided without a trial, it can be handled as an uncontested case, sometimes on the same day. However, if the parties are not able to agree, a hearing or trial will be scheduled.

Q: How long will I have to wait to get divorced?
A: You must wait at least 90 days after your action starts to get a judgment of divorce.

Q: What does it cost to file papers with the court?
A: There are different fees for different kinds of papers that you might be filing with court. The fees are listed in the fee schedule on the judicial website.

Q: What are automatic orders?
A: Filing divorce papers trigger certain automatic court orders that protect you, your spouse and any children of the marriage or civil union. If you are the plaintiff, the automatic orders apply to you when you sign the complaint. If you are the defendant, the automatic orders apply to you when you are served the summons and complaint.

Q: What is a docket number?
A: The number that was assigned to your case when the matter was filed with the court.

Q: How do I get a copy of my divorce decree?
A: Your divorce decree is referred to as the Certified Judgment File and can be picked up at the Clerk's office in the court location where your divorce took place. The Clerk's office will need your case name and docket number and there are fees for copying and certifying.

Q: What is joint custody?
A: Joint custody means that both parents make the major decisions in a child's life together, such as the child's education, religious upbringing or major medical issues. Daily decisions like bedtime or what the child will wear are usually made by the parent who is with the child at that time. Joint custody does not mean that the child must live half the time with one parent and half the time with the other.

Q: What is sole custody?
A: Sole custody means that the child will live primarily with one parent. That parent has the final decision making responsibility for the child and is called the custodial parent. The custodial parent may, however, consult with the non-custodial parent. Usually, the judge will make sure the child has ongoing contact, or visitation, with the noncustodial parent.

Q: What is a Guardian Ad Litem (GAL)?
A: A guardian ad litem, often referred to as a GAL, is an individual appointed by the court either upon a motion of a party or when the court determines a GAL is necessary. The GAL represents the child's best interest.

Q: What is an Attorney for a Minor Child (AMC)?
A: An attorney for a minor child, often referred to as an AMC, is an individual appointed by the court either upon a motion of a party or when the court determines an AMC is necessary to advocate for the best interests of the child. The court will consider the appointment of an AMC if the parties are unable to resolve a parenting or child related dispute. The AMC represents the child's legal interests and supports the child's best interests.