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What is the difference between a Contested and an Uncontested Divorce?

When a couple goes through a divorce, there are a great deal of decisions that must be made in regards to children and marital assets. Some divorces are easily obtained, while others take more effort to work out. The following is an overview of the difference between the different types of divorces, both contested and uncontested.

Filing For Divorce

For a divorce to be approved by the court, there is a process couples must go through. To initiate a divorce, one person must file a document with the court requesting a divorce. This document must be filed in the county where the couple lives. After these documents are filed, they must be served to the other party in the divorce. After this occurs, the responding party must file an answer to the divorce documents within 30 days.

Divorce Issues

Every divorcing couple must work out an agreement regarding primary household issues. These issues are:

  • Division Of Marital Assets
  • Child Custody
  • Child Support
  • Spousal Support
  • Debt Division

It is during the divorce process that couples either reach an agreement or need help from the court to do so.

Uncontested Divorce

When a divorce is uncontested, it means that the couple has been able to come to a reasonable agreement regarding their finances, assets and children that they both can live with. No intervention is required by the court because this agreement has been reached. Uncontested divorces are faster than contested divorces and cost far less than a lengthy court battle.

Contested Divorce

If a divorcing couple cannot reach a reasonable and satisfactory agreement regarding the terms of the divorce, they will need to go to court to resolve it. This is known as a contested divorce. Most courts require divorcing couples who cannot agree to attend mediation before a court date is set. During mediation, both parties sit down with a mediator who is an impartial officer of the court. Both sides may have attorneys present, as well. Mediation is a process in which both sides negotiate for what they want in the divorce. If an agreement can be reached during mediation, there is no need to set a court date for a hearing or trial.

A contested divorce is far more costly to resolve than an uncontested divorce. A lengthy court battle involves filing fees and higher attorney fees. If possible, it is always less expensive to resolve divorce issues without a hearing or a trial. Negotiating a divorce requires a give and take by both parties, but it is a great relief when an agreement is reached. If the divorce remains contested and the couple has a court battle, the feelings of resentment and hostility are higher than if a hearing is not necessary.

How An Attorney Can Help

Hiring an attorney to help negotiate a divorce settlement can take the worry out of this difficult time. Most people are emotionally spent when their marriage dissolves, especially if they have children who are affected by the divorce. An attorney can file the original petition for divorce, advise his client if a protective order may be necessary and attend any hearings necessary to complete the divorce process.

If you are considering filing for divorce, an attorney may be able to help you avoid a long court process. During a consultation, your attorney will examine your case and help you decide how to move forward. The goal is a swift and uncontested divorce, which is always better for families. Hiring an attorney to represent you may increase your chances of having a good outcome in the divorce, so you can move on with your life.

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