Contested Vs. Uncontested Divorce—Understanding the Basics

Posted March 31, 2022 by in Lifestyle
handing over divorce papers

There are two types of divorce; contested and uncontested. A contested divorce is one in which both spouses disagree on some matter related to the case, such as the divorce itself, child custody, property division, and child financial support.

Contested divorces are more complicated than uncontested divorces. You should contact a Family Law Firm if you are planning on getting a contested divorce. Let us look at what is an uncontested divorce for a better understanding of both terms.

Disappointed couple standing opposite each other on sidewalk

What is an uncontested divorce?

An uncontested divorce is one in which both the spouses are in complete agreement with the terms of the divorce. Neither of the spouses disagrees with any aspect of the divorce. In case of an uncontested divorce, you can represent yourself but getting a lawyer is always a good idea.

To get an uncontested divorce, you need to submit documents to the court, and neither of you has to appear in court. The process of getting a contested divorce includes:

1.     Filing the petition to get the divorce. One spouse has to prepare and send the divorce petition to the other. Once the served spouse receives the divorce petition, they need to respond to it and file it in court.

2.     Both of you need to provide all relevant documents and information to prove the case. This may involve providing records, depositions, and witness statements.

3.     Once both the parties are well aware of the information that can be brought up in court, they need to start negotiating settlement proposals. A lawyer will represent you and negotiate on your behalf. It is better to reach a settlement as they cost less than going to trial. If a settlement cannot be reached, then the case will be taken to a divorce court.

4.     Once the trial begins, both the spouses will have to present proof, witnesses, appear in court, and respond to the attorney’s questions asked during cross-examination.

5.     After the trial ends, the judge will announce the final verdict and decision. The decision will include the amount both the spouse will receive, how the assets will be distributed, who will get the custody of the children, and how much financial support they will provide.

6.     If either of the spouses disagrees with the judge’s decision, they will have to file an appeal to a higher court.

Uncontested divorces are simpler and involve fewer steps. This is why it is always a better option for couples who do not agree on some aspect of the divorce to contact a lawyer. A good attorney will help you work our the terms of the divorce that are acceptable by both parties.

Advantages of an uncontested divorce over a contested divorce

1.       Privacy is maintained. The proceedings and hearing of an uncontested divorce take place in chambers, which means that the private information is not disclosed to the public.

2.      Cheaper and quicker process. The hearing of an uncontested divorce is only a few minutes long as compared to the hearing of a contested divorce, which can last for up to many days. The fees are also lower.

3.      An uncontested divorce can be easily resolved in private with the help of lawyers. The mediator should be experienced and well-trained to facilitate open and efficient communication between both parties, making it an amicable process.

The Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce debate is a detailed topic, but hopefully, this article helped you get a basic understanding of both types of divorce.

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