So, What’s a Consent Decree? The Easier Way to Divorce
A Consent Decree could be considered the easier way to divorce, if there is such a thing. You and your spouse get to a Consent Decree by working together, either on your own or in mediation to come to agreements about Legal Decision Making Authority and Parenting Time (if you have kids), the division of your assets and debts, child support and spousal support. While its possible to work towards a Consent Decree after someone has filed for divorce, I find that it works best when the parties work together before running to the courthouse. Here is what happens in the best of situations:
- The couple works out together, either using a mediator or lawyers who are familiar with a collaborative approach, a contract – the Consent Decree. The Consent Decree includes all the details of the divorce: what will happen for the kids, how the assets and debts will be divided, what child support will be and whether there is any spousal support to be paid. Both parties sign and notarize the Consent Decree, promising that they are not entering into the agreement under duress and with enough information to make good decisions.
- One of the parties files a Petition for Dissolution and pays the filing fees. At the same time the other party pays the Response fee.
- Everyone waits for 60 days, the shortest amount of time it takes to get a divorce.
- At the end of the 60 day waiting period, the parties send the signed Consent Decree to the assigned Judge. The Judge signs the Decree, and the divorce is complete.