Uncontested vs Contested Divorce: The Important Differences

Did you just make the decision to divorce your spouse? You might be wondering what the next steps are, how long it will take, and how costly it will be. During these uncertain times, it’s comforting to know what to expect and how to minimize the risks and costs.

An uncontested vs contested divorce will determine the outcome of your divorce proceedings. It will also determine what it takes to get a divorce, how long it will take, and how much it will cost you.

Don’t make the mistake of assuming all divorces are the same. There are a few key differences that make all the difference in your outcome.

Uncontested Divorce Overview

An uncontested divorce is when both parties agree to the divorce and have come to an agreement about issues such as:

  • child support
  • alimony
  • parental responsibility

It is a much simpler process than contested divorce and often requires fewer court hearings, if any. Because there is less fighting, divorces that are not contested tend to be cheaper and less stressful.

Contested Divorce

A “Contested Divorce” happens when one of the people getting divorced doesn’t agree with the terms and wants the court to decide. This type of divorce can be an extremely lengthy and costly process. The contested divorce process generally begins with filing for divorce with the local court.

Then, each side will have to pay for their lawyer and go through the process of gathering evidence and making their cases. The court decides who gets what assets and how much money or help should be given. Also, how to handle any other problems that both parties can’t handle alone.

Key Differences

Uncontested vs. Contested Divorce is a common question faced by many people considering divorce. The key differences between these two are the following:

Complexity of Process

Uncontested and contested divorces are two different methods of getting a divorce finalized. The complexity of the process involved in each method is drastically different.

When two people get a divorce that isn’t fought over, they don’t have to go to court, and it’s usually over quickly with little involvement. The couple works together to agree on the division of property and child custody, and all issues are settled out of court.

On the other hand, divorces that are contested are much more complicated and can take a long time to settle. This type of divorce requires the filing of court documents and hearings in front of a judge and can last for months or even years. Uncontested divorces are much less complicated and are typically less costly.

Cost Implications

The financial costs of an uncontested divorce are often substantially lower than those of a contested divorce. The main reason is that an uncontested divorce happens when people agree on how to divide their assets and who will care for their children. Thus, the process can move much quicker as court appearances are usually unnecessary.

Contested divorces, on the other hand, are far more costly and time-consuming. This is because there is a fight between the parties, and it could take a lot of court hearings and appeals to figure out what should happen. A contested divorce lawyer may charge much more due to the increased complexity and legal work required.

Generally, it is in both parties’ best interest to try and reach an amicable agreement outside of court. This is to keep the costs down and reduce the great personal strain that often comes with a contested divorce.

Emotional Impact

The emotional impact of an uncontested versus contested divorce can differ from one individual to another. An uncontested divorce is quicker in terms of processing, and the spouses can manage the terms on their own.

This usually means less conflict and less emotional impact than a contested divorce. However, some spouses might also miss out on their desired terms due to the absence of a legal professional.

A contested divorce, conversely, will take longer to process, require third-party legal representation, and can involve a lot of conflict and emotion. Although the emotional toll can be higher in a contested divorce, it’s often beneficial as each spouse can ensure they get what is important to them out of the divorce. Both types of divorce can have lasting effects and should be carefully considered.

Legal Representation

When it comes to legal representation in an uncontested vs. contested divorce, there are significant differences. In an uncontested divorce, both parties agree to the terms, and so it is not necessary to hire a lawyer.

In contrast, a contested divorce involves disagreements such as asset division, spousal and child support, and parenting plans. As a result, it is highly recommended a divorce lawyer be consulted to provide legal advice and possible litigation.

Legal representation in a contested divorce can also help make sure the case goes through the legal system efficiently and with as little stress to both parties as possible. Furthermore, a lawyer can help ensure the rights of both parties are respected and that all provisions in the divorce decree are legally binding.

Impact on Children

With contested and uncontested divorces, there are important differences to consider, particularly about the impact on children. An uncontested divorce is when both parties agree on how to divide up the assets and custody of the children. This type of divorce often leads to less stress on children because it is easier to manage. Furthermore, it is usually faster and less costly than a contested divorce.

On the other hand, a contested divorce is a legal dispute between the two parties. This type of divorce can be time-consuming and costly, leading to more stress on the children as it drags out. Parents need to consider the impact of each type of divorce on their children when deciding to divorce and what type to pursue.

A Guide on Uncontested vs Contested Divorce

Contested divorces lead to bigger legal fees and increased court appearances. Knowing the differences between uncontested vs contested divorce ensures a smooth, successful process.

Get a consultation with a divorce attorney to understand what your rights and options are with respect to your divorce.

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