Divorce procedures can be very troubling, especially if there are ongoing disputes about child custody, financial obligations, and division of property or assets. Before filing for a divorce, it is important to understand the differences between contested and uncontested divorce.
What is a Contested Divorce?
A contested divorce is one of the most complicated. It involves two spouses who cannot come to an agreement on important issues relating to the divorce. These issues can include child custody, child support, allocation of debts, alimony payments, and the division of property and assets.
Additionally, if one spouse seeks a divorce, while the other spouse contests the divorce, this would be considered a contested divorce. Often, this type of divorce is required litigation to resolve the outstanding disputes, making the entire process more time-consuming and expensive.
How Should You Handle a Contested Divorce?
Before pursuing litigation, first, seek out a divorce lawyer to attempt to arrange a settlement with your spouse.
Settlement can minimize or even eliminate the need to go to court, and neither spouse will appeal the settlement. If the divorce is brought to court and given a court ruling, there is some likelihood that one party may appeal the decision. This will only lead to more litigation, more expense, and a longer period of time before the divorce is finalized.
If you do arrange a settlement with your spouse, have an experienced divorce attorney write up the agreement to make it legally binding. Contested divorces are very complex (legally), so it is not advisable to represent yourself. An experienced attorney can help you reach an agreement that is acceptable for both you and your spouse.
What is a Uncontested Divorce?
In an uncontested divorce, both spouses agree on key issues, and do not need the court to make determinations about asset division, child custody arrangements, or child support payments. In comparison to a contested divorce, an uncontested divorce is generally less time-consuming, less expensive, and is a much easier process.
This is because it does not typically require litigation. Frequently, divorce cases begin as uncontested, and then escalate into contested as spouses begin to disagree on certain key issues.