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Contested and Uncontested Divorce

What are the Differences Between a Contested and an Uncontested Divorce?

Being in an abusive or even an unhappy marriage is not what you planned. So, what next? Try to spend the next 5 years in the same unhappy situation or move forward with a divorce? Most people actually prefer not to get divorced. They feel some type of safety in their situation, even though many marriages are not safe, for one person or another, in certain critical areas. Getting some answers to some basic questions about the divorce process often takes the fear out of divorce. In our experience, as attorneys, we have found that many clients do not necessarily know what questions to ask about the divorce process, given their limited legal knowledge. This is understandable and to be expected. So, we will start with the basics of divorce and explain the differences between a contested and an uncontested divorce. Hopefully, this will take the fear out of the divorce process and will enable you to move forward if, after reviewing this information, you feel that divorce is the right path to a happier situation for you.

An uncontested divorce typically involves a more amicable, marital situation. Even though you are not happy in your marriage, your spouse is the reasonable type. You can sit down and discuss things calmly, rationally, and, even though it may take an unreasonable amount of time, often you can both come to some type of agreement. If your spouse is this type, then an uncontested divorce is a strong possibility. A divorce matter is labeled as “uncontested” when both of the parties to the case can agree on all of the issues held within the divorce matter. Such issues include: child custody, a workable parent-time schedule, payment of child support (by one party or another), relocation provisions, division of personal property (furniture, art work, vehicles (to include recreational), and bank accounts), division of real property (real estate), division of retirement accounts, and the allocation of marital debts.

In an uncontested divorce, both individuals can save time and money in working all of these issues out, privately, among themselves. The parties to the case can then present a final game plan on all of these issues, to an experienced attorney. An experienced attorney can then take this uncontested divorce “game plan” and incorporate it into the paperwork that will be filed with the court to execute the uncontested divorce. If you would prefer an uncontested divorce, however, you know, based on your spouse’s disposition, that your spouse is less than likely to agree with you on every issue, you can still save both time and money in getting your spouse to agree with you on some of the issues. This typically can be accomplished in a mediation session where both a qualified mediator and your attorney can be present.

When pertinent issues are disputed in a divorce matter, the divorce matter then becomes “contested.” A contested divorce often involves more time and money from both parties to be able to get the “contested” issues fully resolved. Any issue that cannot fully be resolved in mediation and/or during the preliminary negotiations is typically held over for trial. In such cases, then, the judge will decide for both of the parties on each and every contested issue. This type of situation is not ideal as the final decisions are now beyond each parties’ control and/or preference. At trial, a court will look to the law and the applicable law will govern on all of the issues still in dispute. Whether or not your divorce is contested or uncontested, it is important to have an experienced attorney in your corner. Please contact one of the experienced attorneys at JLJ Law Group, PLLC to schedule your consultation appointment.

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