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Uncontested versus Contested Divorce

Divorce can be very upsetting, especially if there are ongoing disputes about child custody, financial obligations, and division of assets. Before filing for divorce, it’s important to understand the difference between contested and uncontested divorce. In a contested divorce, both spouses cannot come to an agreement on important issues relating to ending the marriage. These issues are often related to child custody & child support payments, allocation of debts, alimony payments, and division of property & assets. If one spouse wants to divorce, while the other is opposed to divorce, then this would also be considered a “contested” divorce. Contested divorces are usually more time-consuming, expensive, and require litigation to resolve the outstanding disputes. In a contested divorce, see if you can arrange a settlement with your spouse before pursuing litigation.

Your divorce attorney can help arrange a settlement, which can minimize (or possibly eliminate) the need to go to court. Very frequently, spouses will begin the contested divorce process, and then reach agreement (via negotiation) before the actual trial date. The biggest benefit of a settlement is that neither spouse will appeal it. With a court ruling, however, there is the likelihood that an unhappy spouse could appeal the court decision, causing more litigation, expense, and a longer period of time before the divorce is finalized.

Attorneys on both sides can help you and your spouse reach an agreement that is acceptable to both parties. If you reach a settlement with your spouse, be sure to have an experienced divorce attorney draw-up the agreement to make it legally binding. Contested divorces are legally complex; therefore, it is not a good idea to represent yourself. For the best outcome, work with an experienced attorney who can guide you through the divorce process.

Uncontested divorce is generally faster, easier, and less expensive than contested divorce. This is because it does not usually require litigation. Many divorce cases begin as uncontested divorces – however, over time, they become “contested” as spouses begin fighting about certain key issues. In an uncontested divorce, both spouses agree on the key issues, and do not need the court to make determinations about asset division, child custody arrangements, or child support payments.

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